The 2014 edition of the festival features as stellar a line-up as ever. A special WOW Laureates Night on Friday March 7 (£12-£15, 6.30pm) features the first joint reading by the current English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish poet laureates – all of whom are women. Carol Ann Duffy joins her counterparts in the rest of the UK to celebrate the first time in history that all four laureates have been women. Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl activist who was shot for her work, speaks about the systemic nature of gender inequality on Saturday March 8 (£10-£20, 10am). Other highlights include appearances by Vivienne Westwood, Shami Chakrabarti, The Ronettes' Ronnie Spector, Grayson Perry and Ruby Wax.
Through discussion, debate, performances and activism, women’s and girls' achievements are celebrated and the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world are explored. The enticing range of subject matter covered runs the gamut from a Funny Women comedy workshop to mass speed mentoring sessions, via talks on issues including race, rape, cyber bullying and sustainable fashion. There are also sessions on feminism for under-tens and teens, as well as talks on childlessness and raising boys.
The three-day festival is scheduled to take place during the weekend of International Women's Day (on Mar 8). Day passes and three-day weekend passes that admit visitors to all daytime events are available alongside tickets for individual events, including some free ones.