WOW hosted an array of passionate songs and powerful words at the weekend to raise awareness of the inequalities and challenges that face women and praise their accomplishments that have changed the world
Following the centenary of International Women’s Day, the Southbank Centre played host to EQUALS Live as they launched the first annual three-day WoW – Women of the World Festival to celebrate the accomplishments of women worldwide.
Annie Lennox, founder of the coalition of women’s rights charities, ignited the crowd with her famous rendition of ‘Sweet Dreams’ at the launch, while other performances included Kate Nash, Paloma Faith and V V Brown, who are all avid supporters of EQUALS.
‘As one of the very few female leaders of a major international arts organisation, I am all too aware of the disparity between women’s talent and their opportunity to show it in every sector,’ says Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and festival director of WoW.
An array of entertainment from theatre and film to comedy and music surrounded the three-day conference on women’s rights involving debates and talks on female equality around the world and networking and mentoring opportunities for women.
‘Women of the World festival offers people of all ages and walks of life the opportunity to celebrate women and share their stories with each other,’ says Kelly. ‘Gender inequality continues to permeate all sectors of society, from health and education to politics, employment and culture.’
With unequal pay, the recent uprising surrounding the lack of women on company boards, the rising incidents of pregnant women facing job dismissal, sex trafficking and domestic violence, the fight for women’s rights is still as necessary as ever.
‘The EQUALS partnership aims to step up the call for a more equal world and galvanise a new generation of men and women to work together to make gender parity a lived reality here in the UK and worldwide,’ says Kelly.
Female comedian, Shazia Mirza, who performed at EQUALS Live said the atmosphere was electric. ‘I felt privilaged to be among such a wonderful group of strong, beautiful and talented ground breaking women. The night was an uplifting extravaganza that will make a change in it’s own small way.’