Get ready for a healthy dose of #inspo at Women of the World festival 2018
Words by Victoria Fell
The last 12 months have been hugely significant for women: from the celebration of 100 years of the vote for (some) women, to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements declaring enough is enough, this has been a watershed moment in the ongoing global fight for our rights.
From 7th – 11th March, Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival 2018 (WOW) will be celebrating the achievements of womankind with a series of talks and events, as well as examining the obstacles that still exist to stop us from achieving our potential. With topics including disabled motherhood, sexual pleasure, and survival strategies for black women facing discrimination at work, the festival promises to be a fascinating (and fully intersectional) event.
To get you even more excited for WOW (and for International Women’s Day on 8th March) we’ve picked ten speakers who should not be missed. Hands up who feels empowered already?
Victoria Adukwei Bulley
British-born Ghanaian poet, writer and filmmaker Victoria Adukwei Bulley will perform her poetry, and host a screening of Mother Tongues, a poetry, film and performance project weaving intergenerational stories through culture and translation. In the project, after the poets finished working with their mothers to translate their work into their mother’s native language, they were filmed in intimate conversation with their parents before reciting a version of the poem.
Hermon and Heroda Berhane
Born and raised in Eritrea, these fashion-blogging twins both went deaf aged 7 due to an unknown cause. Now living in London, Hermon is a professional actress and Heroda has just landed her first commercial, and hopes to model. Determined to challenge the world’s attitude and views towards people with disabilities, the pair started their blog to share their journey in fashion, travel and style. They will be discussing the higher risks of depression, assault, suicide and self-harm for d/Deaf women alongside Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, a Deaf British-born Muslim artist who has been exhibiting her work since 1992 in locations including America, Sweden, Paris and the UK.
From the moment that she first appeared on our screens on the 2007 BBC series, Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts, we fell in love with Stacey Dooley. Over the last decade, she has proved herself as one of the UK’s best-known and most-loved documentary-makers, and was nominated for the 2017 Grierson Award for her BBC3 for her shocking exposé of the Japanese underage sex trade in Stacey Dooley Investigates: Young Sex for Sale in Japan. She will be part of the panel for WOW Views on the News, discussing how to deal with the press and the significance of headlines for gender equality.
Model, activist and part of the Women of the World 2018 festival committee, Munroe Bergdorf will be contributing to Sandi Toksvig’s Sweep Through The Year (which covers the twelve hottest topics from 2017) and will be speaking about her (short-lived) role as the first trans model to front a L’Oréal campaign. Bergdorf is fearless and uncompromising: we can’t wait to hear her views on her sacking by L’Oreal after allegations of racism from a national newspaper, and subsequent hiring by Illamasqua as a face of the brand.
Ellen Støkken Dahl and Nina Brochmann
These two medical students, who have worked for years as sex educators in their native Norway, are determined to debunk the myths of the vagina with their book The Wonder Down Under: A User’s Guide to the Vagina. Set to be published on International Women’s Day, the book combines wisdom, humour and scientific knowledge to create a a book that is both a demystification of and a tribute to the vagina. This is going to be big: the book sold out in three days in its native Norway. This panel promises to explore female erections, cultural examinations about the hymen, supported by solid medical knowledge – and almost everything between.
Reni Eddo-Lodge and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun and We Should All Be Feminists, talks to Reni Eddo-Lodge, journalist and author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race about race, gender, feminism and more of today’s most pressing events. We are too excited: Reni Eddo-Lodge’s groundbreaking work was one of the last 12 month’s most compelling reads and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has the Queen Bey seal of approval (on top of the small matter of a $500,000 Macarthur Foundation ‘genius grant’…)
Leader of the Women’s Quality Party Sophie left us fired up with her brilliant words at the #TimesUp rally in January so we can’t wait to hear her views on not one, but two panels at this year’s WOW festival. Friday 9th March sees Walker join one of Marie Claire’s 100 most inspirational women of all time, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, along with Anna Soubry MP and Jo Swinson MP to talk about the impact of online abuse for women politicians and how it has become a daily reality for some. Saturday 10th sees her join a panel of parents, policy makers and activists searching for a solution to the childcare crisis in the UK.
The World of Women Festival runs from 7th-11th March 2018. More information is available here