Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

WOW UK'S 21 Day Digital Festival Marking International Women's Day 2021 Starts Today

There will be over 30 ticketed talks, discussions and workshops featuring some of the world's most exciting performers, activists and voices.

WOW - Women of the World's UK March flagship Festival will, for the first time, take place online. Starting today, the festival celebrating women and girls, which is usually held at the Southbank Centre, will run for three weeks (1st - 21st March) with a line-up of over 30 ticketed talks, discussions and workshops featuring some of the world's most exciting performers, activists and voices.

With the support of WOW's global founding partner Bloomberg, alongside the UK, WOW Festivals and events will take place across the world in partnership with The WOW Foundation in regions including Australia, Bangladesh, Istanbul, Nepal, New York, Pakistan and Taiwan.

Recognising recent global events, this year's WOW UK Festival programme will take a frank look at new obstacles women, girls and non-binary people now face; discussing creative solutions for change whilst celebrating amazing stories of resistance and progress. Available worldwide, the festival will bring together global audiences for challenging conversations, interactive workshops but also moments of joy, spontaneity, laughter and optimism.

WOW UK Festival 2021 events will be accompanied by a series of specially filmed musical performances curated by WOW Sounds, which will showcase women, girls and non-binary artists from around the world that use their music as a form of activism.

Jude Kelly, Founder of WOW, will launch the UK festival this evening with US based entrepreneur and long-term WOW collaborator India Gary-Martin, exploring what the pandemic has meant for women and girls around the world. WOW Sounds performances from soul singer and all round force of nature Miss Baby Sol and teenage Indonesian metal band Voice of Baceprot will follow the event.

To mark International Women's Day 2021, former Australian Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard AC and Mandu Reid, the first Black leader of the Women's Equality Party will join Jude Kelly to discuss political leadership at this pivotal time in our history at Women, Power and Change: International Women's Day at WOW, a ticketed evening event also featuring performances from sitarist shredder, composer, producer and seven-time Grammy nominee Anoushka Shankar and international superstar Fatoumata Diawara.

Alongside Women, Power and Change, a free programme of events will run throughout International Women's Day on WOW's YouTube and Facebook page to celebrate and explore female leadership across the world. Inspired by this year's International Women's Day theme "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.", each event will be released hourly on WOW's social media channels to paint a global picture, including collaborations with With and For Girls, Women's March Global & Women in Dev, Women in Journalism, and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. Plus there will be interviews with WOW collaborators from Brazil to Bangladesh and journalist, author, producer and lifelong advocate for women and girls Pat Mitchell. 8th March will also mark the launch of The Hope Brigade, a major online exhibition created by WOW and Google Arts and Culture featuring 100 women from 10 cities and countries around the world which tells a story of global feminisms and women's movements. Throughout International Women's Day, WOW will be encouraging global audiences to get counted in 'Global Count', the worldwide gender equality survey polling women and gender-diverse people right now on the barriers to progress.

Also announced today, British Vogue Forces for Change will return to WOW this year on 9th March to uncover raw and inspiring stories of women across the globe. Introduced by Jude Kelly, British Vogue's Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful OBE and Christy Turlington will be in conversation. A panel discussion will follow with guests including Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Head of YouTube, EMEA; 27th Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard; Emily Maitlis; British journalist, documentary filmmaker and newsreader for the BBC and activist Amika George. The panel will be chaired byVanessa Kingori, Publishing Director, British Vogue.The event will be followed by a performance from Nubya Garcia.

Highlights from the In Conversation programme will include; Arundhati Roy and V (formerly Eve Ensler) reflecting on the meaning of freedom in an increasingly authoritarian world with writer Preti Taneja; Founder of the Women's Equality Party, Catherine Mayer and her mother Anne Mayer Bird discussing personal and communal grief; Intersectionality pioneer Kimberlé Crenshaw in conversation with Jude Kelly about the #SayHerName campaign and changes she wants to see in a post-pandemic world; Ruby Wax and Fearne Cotton exploring mental health and how recent developments in industry are turning our world into a better place; authors Sheila Heti and Avni Doshi on locating the complexity, trauma and joy in an ambivalence towards motherhood.

Elsewhere Lucy-Anne Holmes (Women on Top of the World) is joined by other leading sexperts Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (The Sex Lives of African Women) and performer, playwright and poet Dr Jessi Parrott for an honest and positive conversation on how lockdown has impacted our sex lives; tech entrepreneurs Tabitha Goldstaub (CogX), Sharmadean Reid (Beautystack) and Maxine Mackintosh (One HealthTech) will discuss how to achieve gender equality in the tech industries; a special event with Working Class Writers Festival will see Artistic Director Natasha Carthew joined by acclaimed authors Sharon Duggal, Sadie Hasler and Mahsuda Snaith; and author and comedian Natalie Haynes and historian Bettany Hughes tell us what we can learn from women in Ancient Greek myths and the injustices in how their stories have been passed down through history.

Yemeni Human Rights Defender Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Sky News Special Correspondent Alex Crawford and Gulalai Ismail, a threatened women's rights and peace activist from Pakistan, will join RAW in WAR founder Mariana Katzarova, to shine a spotlight on abuses - exacerbated by the pandemic - committed against women and girls in conflict areas, and the price of speaking truth to power.

Each In Conversation event will be paired with a WOW Sounds performance filmed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Akshara Theatre - a concert hall in New Delhi - and artists' living rooms all across the globe. The line-up includes singer-songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson; genre defying artist Anaiis; non-binary filipinx multi-disciplinary Kimmortal; Indian independent artist and urban ecologist Ditty; American Tik Tok star and singer Aliah Sheffield; foremost female ambassador of Gnawa music Asmaa Hamzoui and her band Bnat Timbouktou; Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi; the Zimbabwean 'Princess of Mbira' Hope Masike; Kenyan musical and cultural firebrand Muthoni Drummer Queen and platinum-selling front woman and bassist from Noisettes Shingai.

Interactive digital workshops will take place over Zoom for those who want to actively take part. A workshop on healing, empowering and resilience from Milk & Honey will join previously announced events including; A discussion on intersectunality and Black feminism led by Jade Bentil for women and non-binary people from Black African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and African-American backgrounds; Performance Artist, Musician and Screenwriter Bryony Kimmings on finding daily joy in creativity. There will be discussion groups on reimagining domestic care with sessions on radical childcare and the often overlooked needs of grandmothers. Selina Flavius, founder and author of Black Girl Finance, will lay out practical steps for resetting your 'Money Mindset' and building financial confidence; WOW Australia will lead two sessions: Decolonising Songwriting with Emily Wurramara, an Anindilyakwa singer-songwriter, and Irish singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell, and The Bystander Approach to Addressing Inequality, exploring ways of calling out problematic behaviour in a safe way. Other workshops will include All Cisterns Go, a WOW plumbing workshop, an Afrofunk dance workshop straight from Brazil, and a lesson in finding your personal power in a virtual environment with Sarah Blumenau.

All In Conversation events will be BSL interpreted and captioned, with tickets starting from £1 or audiences can buy a pass to watch the whole season of talks from £25.

For more information and the full WOW Festival 2021 programme, visit or book on

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More UK Regional Stories

More Hot Stories For You