Panel Talks & Workshops

Women of the World Festival: London 2020

10:30 am - 10:00 pm | 06 March 2020
Southbank Centre | £40

2020 marks the tenth anniversary of WOW – Women of the World festival, and to celebrate the WOW Foundation presents the biggest and bravest festival yet.

Over three days (6th – 8th March), WOW’s line-up of world-class speakers, activists and performers are joined by thousands to explore the state of gender equality across the globe and tackle the subjects that matter most to women and girls across the world today.

Featured Highlights:


  • Friday 6th, 1:45 PM – Your Money or Your Life: Personal Finance – Royal Festival Hall, Green Bar, Level 4, £40

Our finance experts explain how women can make the most of their money in a talk with speakers including Daniella Jenkins, a researcher in pension inequalities. For centuries women have been locked out of financial decisions – it was only in 1975 where women in the UK could open a bank account in their own name, and there is no country in the world where men and women have official economic equality. Many of us don’t feel confident dealing with or talking about money, but understanding money and personal finance brings opportunities and benefits – and could be a life saver. Hear about feminist pensions; how you can increase your financial health, happiness and independence; why knowing your stuff is so important; and where you can get financial information.

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  • Friday 6th, 1:45 PM – Me and White Supremacy – Queen Elizabeth Hall, £40

Challenge your understanding of white supremacy and privilege in a thought-provoking session. What exactly is white supremacy? Are you able to recognise your privilege, but unsure of how to challenge it? Do you wish that you could help speak up and take ownership of anti-racism work but feel you may not have the tools to do so? Come and join anti-racism educator and Instagram sensation Layla Saad to talk about her book Me and White Supremacy. Saad joins WOW in conversation to unpack misconceptions, understand how to utilise our privileges and take the actions necessary to dismantle the racist power structures and injustices that impact all of our lives. Women of all backgrounds are invited to join us for this frank and informative session.

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  • Friday 6th, 3:30 PM – F**K Forgiveness – Purcell Room, £40

Our panel session examines who really benefits from forgiveness, the mental toll of shutting down anger and how to face rising hostility and misogynoir. Historically the Black community, particularly Black women, have been expected to forgive and forget injustices suffered. To avoid being stereotyped as ‘angry Black women’, they are required to quell the legitimate anger and questions that arise over cases of systemic racism.

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  • Friday 6th, 3:30 PM – Art in the Age of Black Girl Magic – Royal Festival Hall, Sunley Pavilion, Level 3, £40

Delve into the genesis of black feminism in art at a talk with Bolanle Tajudeen, founder of Black Blossoms. Explore black women artists who make work addressing social, economical and political issues affecting their lives. With Tajudeen’s guidance, uncover how these works can raise the conciseness of the black community. During the session, find out about the ways in which black women artists have resisted and organised to make sure they are not ignored and forgotten in art history.

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  • Saturday 7th, 12:00 PM – Women of Colour and Mental Health – Royal Festival Hall, Level 5 Function Room, Green Side – £40

How do gender and race affect mental health care, why do women of colour often go unheard, and how can we challenge stigma and change the status quo? Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are experienced by women of colour at a higher rate than white women in the UK, according to NHS Digital’s 2017 statistics. Women of colour face numerous barriers which mean they are affected disproportionately by mental health issues, worsened by the fact that professional services are not representative of the populations that are seeking help.

Consider how we can work to improve access to treatment and mental health policy with speakers including Sanah Ahsan, a trainee clinical psychologist, spoken word artist and poet, and more to be announced. Women of colour regularly face pressures linked to overt and covert racism, micro-aggressions and discrimination, and are often excluded from national conversations about issues linked to mental health. Join us to discuss how we can create inclusive conversations about mental health in the mainstream, the importance of community spaces to talk about mental health, and more.

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  • Saturday 7th, 1:45 PM – Taking Up Space – Royal Festival Hall, Level 5 Function Room, Green Side – £40

The realities of being a black girl in a white institution are laid bare by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi, authors of Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change. As a minority in a predominantly white institution, taking up space is an act of resistance, and the feeling that you constantly have to justify your existence within institutions that weren’t made for you is an ongoing struggle for many people. Recent University of Cambridge graduates Kwakye and Ogunbiyi wrote Taking Up Space as a guide and manifesto for change. The book tackles issues of access, unrepresentative curricula, discrimination in the classroom, the problems of activism and life before and after university.

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  • Saturday 7th, 6:00 PM – British Vogue’s Forces for Change – Queen Elizabeth Hall, £25

What changes do you want to see in the world? That’s the question Vogue posed to 15 women with 15 unique causes in its sell-out September 2019 issue. The issue, titled ‘Forces for Change’, celebrated a fundamental shift in perceptions worldwide. Join British Vogue, Edward Enninful OBE, WOW Founder Jude Kelly and guests to explore stories of female trailblazers who are working to set the agenda across the globe on the most pressing issues of our day.

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  • Saturday 7th, 8.30 PM – Emma Dabiri: Don’t Touch My Hair – Queen Elizabeth Hall, £22

Straightened. Stigmatised. ‘Tamed’. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. The acclaimed writer and broadcaster explores why black hair is never ‘just hair’.

Emma Dabiri’s groundbreaking book, Don’t Touch My Hair, discusses subjects as wide-ranging as women’s solidarity and friendship, forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian’s braids.

Dabiri explores why far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation.

All hair types are welcome on a journey from pre-colonial Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance and Black Power into today’s Natural Hair Movement, the Cultural Appropriation Wars and beyond, to discuss why black hair matters and how it can be viewed as a blueprint for decolonisation.

Chaired by Artistic Director and CEO of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Hannah Azieb Pool.

Book here


  • Saturday 7th, 9:00 PM – Climate Justice: A Man Made Problem with a Feminist Solution – Queen Elizabeth Hall, £25

Why should we be looking to feminist solutions to climate change? How are gender equality and the environmental crisis linked? Join a group of the world’s leading climate change and social justice activists to discover how they are leading the charge, and how you can be a part of the solution. As these extraordinary women meet on stage, discover why the collective action of women is fundamental to addressing the most urgent humanitarian issues of our time, and how women are disproportionately affected. The first speaker to be announced is former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, one of the world’s most influential climate change and social justice activists.

Following the birth of Robinson’s first grandchild in 2003, the faceless, shadowy menace of climate change became, in an instant, deeply personal. Travelling the world from Mississippi to Malawi, Robinson has met women living on the front lines of the environmental crisis, discovering the resilience and ingenuity already unlocking extraordinary change. At this talk, explore how you can be a part of a powerful and humane manifesto for change, and why feminist solutions are key to tackling the most pressing issue of our time.

Book here

  • Sunday 8th, 2:00 PM – Toni Morrison: A Celebration – Queen Elizabeth hall, £25

Contemporary writers pay homage to the life and work of Toni Morrison, 50 years since the publication of The Bluest Eye. Featuring performances, readings and tributes from special guests, this evening is a joyful response to Morrison’s legacy. In her debut, The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, Morrison depicted an 11-year-old black girl’s mental disintegration. The novel asks vital questions about race, gender and class that are more relevant today than ever. Morrison received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved in 1988, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She died in August 2019.

Book here

Day Passes cost £40 for a day’s event. More information here

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