Naomi Wolf, Sandi Toksvig and Deborah Frances-White are among the line-up for the 2020 Women of the World (WOW) tenth anniversary festival, it was announced today.
The WOW festival will take place from 6 to 8 March at the Southbank Centre and include such themes as motherhood, women in war, feminist sex, domestic abuse, female black art history and being queer in the 21st century.
Wolf will feature on a panel of guests to celebrate 30 years since the publication of her book The Beauty Myth and explore what has changed in the last three decades. She commented of the festival: “I’m so honoured to be joining WOW again, this time to explore The Beauty Myth – 30 Years On. We’ll look, no doubt, at the impact women have made in regards to the issues raised then, and shine a light on what still needs to be addressed. If an organisation can be a heroine, WOW is mine. For years I’ve cheered Jude and her remarkable team as they empower women around the world in transformational ways, and are empowered by them in turn; showcasing the fact that feminism is already everywhere and its leaders are already everywhere. No one makes feminism joyful, exciting, culturally important and global like WOW.”
Other events at the WOW 2020 festival include Toksvig returning to meet her personal heroes for How the Hell did I Get Here?, an evening discovering her VIP guests’ journeys to the very top. Climate Justice: A Man-made Problem with a Feminist Solution will feature a panel of leading thinkers to explore possible solutions to the climate emergency, including former President of Ireland and leading humanitarian activist Mary Robinson. Shazia Mirza will bring Coconut as part of her UK tour and there will be live recordings of two of the UK’s most popular podcasts: Scarlett Curtis: Feminists Don’t Wear Pink Live and The Guilty Feminist by Frances-White.
The festival will also host a series talks, workshops and panels including Britishness and Power – what it means to be a British woman today and the impact the UK’s changing political landscape has on identity. Domestic Abuse: Everyone’s Problem will explore the face of intimate terrorism, Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t will interrogate the impact of motherhood, Where are the Working Class Asians? will feature a discussion with women working in industries from the arts to the sciences; and Badass Women from History are also among the line-up for 2020.
Bolanle Tajudeen will present a taster of Art in the Age of Black Girl Magic, her course currently taught at Tate. Author Amelia Abraham and special guests will look at what it means to be queer in 2020 in Queer Intentions. Refusing to be Silenced will bring together women who risk their lives to speak the truth, including Anna Politkovskaya Award Winners Svetlana Alexievich and Alex Crawford. Taking up Space will expose the realities of being a black girl in white institutions.
Other speakers confirmed include author and Booker Prize nominee Elif Shafak, the first female Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, entrepreneur Heroda Berhane and Graeae artistic director Jenny Sealey.
The festival is presented by The WOW Foundation, which produces events to celebrate women and girls around the world, raise awareness of the issues they face and present possible solutions. Over the past 10 years, WOW festivals have reached more than two million people across six continents, from Baltimore to Brazil, Cardiff to Karachi. Founder and Director of The WOW Foundation, Jude Kelly commented: “Fearless, inspirational, dogged, hilarious, modest… words I use to describe the brilliant women and girls featuring in our tenth anniversary festival. The WOW global community expands daily and it’s a joy to be part of a movement that reminds us of the power unleashed by working together.”