With a packed programme over six days, WOW – Women of the World brings together artists, activists, politicians, business leaders and refugees from across the world to share experiences, explore opportunities for the future and create innovative solutions to life’s obstacles.
As part of Southbank Centre’s yearlong exploration and celebration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters, there will be a Nordic focus throughout the festival, featuring artists and speakers examining gender equality in the Nordic countries, which have all been voted the world’s best countries in which to be a woman.
Influential and challenging speakers will discuss what we can learn from Nordic parenting and the growth of feminist political parties in Nordic countries. “Gender Equality in the Nordics” takes place on 11 March. State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Laila Bokhari joins Danish Minister for Equal Opportunities and Nordic Cooperation Karen Ellemann and author of The Nordic Theory of Everything, Anu Partanen in a debate on gender equality in the Nordic region, the successes, what remains to be done and the gap between perception and reality.
There will also be a panel debate on the Nordic approach to prostitution and the challenges within their laws featuring Reykjavik’s first woman Chief of Police Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, leader of the Norwegian shelter secretariat ROSA project Mildrid Mikkelsen and Women’s Equality party’s head of policy and partnerships Halla Gunnarsdóttir. “Buying Sex” takes place on 10 March.
On 12 March, Norwegian Eivor Lægreid, programme manager at Yazada – a women’s centre in Duhok, Iraq for Yazidi women and children – joins British Yazidi teen Rozin Khalil Hanjool and chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times Christina Lamb in a panel discussing the situation on the ground for Yazidi women and girls. “The World Remains Silent” examines how government and individuals can contribute to the fight.
Other Nordic highlights at WOW – Women of the World are the 16-piece, all female rap group Daughters of Reykjavik, a pop-up performance of Kulning – a unique and old Swedish vocal technique and WOW Bites go Nordic.
Launched by Southbank Centre in 2010, WOW – Women of the World is now a global movement, with international WOW festivals reaching over one million people across five continents. In 2017, the London festival once again marks International Women’s Day on 8 March.
With over 200 events including talks, panel debates, live music, comedy, workshops and theatre, Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival runs 7-12 March, supported by Bloomberg.