WOW: Women of the World Festival

Things to do , Festivals
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Linda Nylind
WOW Women of the World festival 2012 at Southbank Centre. Mirth Control with Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins and Jo Brand. Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/3/2012.
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The 2016 edition of this festival features a stellar line-up championing everything that is great about women and girls. Through discussion, debate, performances and activism, female achievements are celebrated and the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world are explored. Difficult subjects including alcoholism, rape, honour-based violence, trans activism and criminal justice will all be covered and women will be given the chance to talk about their heroines and how their actions have inspired them to act themselves. Highlights this year include Annie Lennox in conversation with Jude Kelly talking about campaigning for the rights of women and people living with HIV/AIDS, Martha Lane Fox on disruptive innovation, the launch of Caitlin Moran's latest book and Shami Chakrabarti on 15 years at Liberty and the future of women's rights. Other speakers include Gemma Cairney, Bridget Christie, Inga Beale, Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins and Sara Pascoe. 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. Visit the WOW website to book.

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Sarah G
Tastemaker

I bought a 3 day pass as that seemed good value. In the run up i felt increasingly irritated as I couldn't understand what the programme was or how it all worked. I went along on Friday from 10.30 until about 2 and managed to see 1.5 sessions and tour the 'market'. As you arrive you get a written programme that makes it clearer what's on and where. I would have thought this would a) been available easily before hand b) been an app c) been clearer about locations and etiquette.


My friend and I nearly missed the session we were aiming for as very little is signposted clearly and we ended up in the third floor auditorium - rather than the 5th floor function room we thought we were in! All of which necessitated a sharpish and quite embarrassing exit. When we did find it there was then a huge queue an it was touch and go whether we could get it - even though as it turned out there were seats. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me to have left a pretty empty auditorium to then be squashed into a tiny room. I was really interested to hear the mayoral hustings and disappointed that only Sadiq Khan and the WEP candidate actually turned up. The others sending pretty poorly briefed subs. That said Sadiq Khan was excellent and engaging and confirmed my view that he's what we need for London!


Anyway I am going back tomorrow for a whole day so can form a better opinion. But at the moment - whilst I wanted to love it I feel a bit meh.