WOW - Women of the World - Festival started ten years ago by the wonderful Jude Kelly CBE ‘to celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face and discussing solutions together’. It has now reached over two million people in 17 countries on five continents across over 65 festivals. It is held at the Southbank Centre in London which is a brilliant venue - a perfect place to hold this amazing festival.
The festival in London is held over three days and we attended on 7th March. During the day we listened to many amazing women and girls about their life experiences and initiatives they had been involved in.
The day began with a wonderful opening panel and an amazing poem written and read by Nabeelah Hafeez of the power of a woman. It truly set the tone for the day ahead and it was nothing but inspirational, enjoyable and brilliant.
The panels ranged from ‘Saturday WOW Bites’ with Grace Murray, Muskan Shafat, Girls in Data and Mulberry School for Girls which covered a range of topics including getting girls into STEM and dispelling the myths surrounding this to being seen and heard to ‘Dolls: Life in Plastic, is it fantastic?’ with Daniella Jenkins, Radeyah Chowdhury, Megan Perryman and hosted by Bea Rowlatt. This panel spoke about gender equality and how it translates into the toys that are available for children and whether dolls can ‘help in the fight for gender equality’.
One of our favourite panels was The New York Times - ‘This is 18’. The NY Times gave an assignment to young women photographers around the world to capture and show what 18 is like across the globe and celebrate girlhood. The editors of the NY Times said of choosing 18 that ‘Eighteen is an age. But it’s also something more. It’s a moment, a rite of passage, a gateway to adulthood’. On the panel was Sharon who was the project producer, Ruby who was one of the subjects and Georgia Canning who was one of the photographers who captured Ruby’s life. It was really interesting to hear about the project, how it came about and to hear from Ruby and to see photos and stories from a selection of the incredible women who were featured in the project.
‘This is 18’ is an insightful and positive project and it highlights the amazing women around the world, the next generation, doing incredible things in their everyday lives and creating positive change. It was inspiring and we are really excited about the future generation and we will do everything we can to empower young girls through Careaux to keep creating positive change.