Women of the World Festival

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Women of the World Festival
Women Of the World festival logo.png
VenueSouth Bank Centre, London
Founded8 March 2010 (2010-03-08)
FounderJude Kelly
ActivityCelebrates the achievements of women and girls as well as looking at the obstacles they face across the world
Patron(s)Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (president)

Women of the World Festival (WOW) is an annual arts and science festival based in London, that celebrates the achievements of women and girls, as well as looking at the obstacles they face across the world. As a global feminist movement, it seeks to inspire new generations of young women and girls.

The festival was founded in 2010 by Jude Kelly,[1][2] a theatre director and artistic director of London's Southbank Centre. It takes place over several days in early March, around International Women's Day. WOW sponsors lectures, debates, performances and mentoring sessions on a range of themes and topics.

Jude Kelly speaking at the 2014 festival

The festival's principal venue is the Southbank Centre, where it was founded. There are satellite venues at other locations, notably Cambridge, England; Hong Kong, Ethiopia, Australia, Iceland, New York, and Egypt.[3][4][5]

Since 2015 Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been WOW's president.[6] In 2015, the BBC streamed much of the London festival's content.[7] By 2018, there were 42 WOW festivals in 23 countries.[8]

The WOW Foundation was incorporated in 2018, with Kelly as its first director.[9] She stepped down from her position as artistic director of the Southbank Festival in May 2018, in order to concentrate on WOW.[8]

In 2020, the festival's tenth edition featured an address by the Duchess of Cornwall.[10] In May of that year, the WOW Foundation ran a two-day online event in partnership with BBC Arts.[11] In March 2021, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be felt, the festival moved online.[12]

The Southbank Centre has been listed in The Times Top 50 employers for women.[13] Its Women of the World festival was nominated for two awards as part of the Business in the Community Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (26 January 2018). "Southbank director Jude Kelly: 'Saying you're a feminist is not enough'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  2. ^ Brown, Mark (18 January 2018). "Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly to step down". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  3. ^ WOW-Cambridge Festival WoW Cambridge 2014.
  4. ^ WOW Women of the World Cambridge. Retrieved March 2015.
  5. ^ "What’s WOW all about? Founder Jude Kelly explains". South Bank Centre website. Retrieved March 2015.
  6. ^ Jobson, Robert (16 February 2015). "Camilla to be president of Women of the World festival". London Evening Standard. Retrieved March 2015.
  7. ^ WOW - Women of the World Festival, Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4, March 2015.
  8. ^ a b Dex, Robert (18 January 2018). "Jude Kelly quits Southbank Centre after more than a decade". Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  9. ^ "THE WOW FOUNDATION - Officers". Companies House. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Duchess of Cornwall addresses Women of the World Festival". uk.news.yahoo.com. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  11. ^ "BBC and WOW unite for online Women of the World Festival". Voice Online. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  12. ^ Griffiths, Sophie (31 January 2021). "EVENTS: Women Of The World Festival announces major programme for 2021". DIVA. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016". Gender. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Awards & recognition". Business in the Community. Retrieved 13 March 2016.

External links[edit]