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WoW Southbank Centres WOW Women of the World Festival credit Jo Spencer


Women of the World Festival: Our Highlights

Everyone - no matter what their age, gender or ethnicity - has their own experiences of the role that women have in society. The Women of the World festival is a huge, global festival movement launched in 2010 by Jude Kelly CBE at Southbank Centre, London, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. To date, WOW has reached over one million people worldwide and this number is growing year on year. So far, there have been 45 festivals in 15 cities across 5 continents. Previous speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Gordon Brown, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart and many more including hundreds of women and men who don't have public profiles but are working everyday to achieve gender equality Now, WOW comes to Norwich in a full and eclectic two-day programme of events.

Title Image: Jo Spencer

Before Christmas, I went with my friend Hope to one of the planning meetings - or Thinkins -  for the festival. The aim of the meeting was to discuss with women, men, girls, boys and non-binary people the issues that needed tackling in the festival, and what people felt was most important to address in the events programme. Out of the discussion came honest, heartfelt and diverse suggestions: young girls from the city who felt they weren't listened to, and older women from the Norfolk countryside who felt the same. Women who had been hurt, women who had been bullied at work, and women who spoke about the things that had happened in their life that empowered them to reach their potential. 

Even in that room, with the Norwich festival in its fledgling stages, you felt a supportive and positive network. This festival is for men too; in fact there is an event on 'toxic masculinity' on the Saturday. The line up was released last week, and it looks interesting, fun and truly thought-provoking. If you've been so something like this before, this will fascinate you. If you haven't, it will rock your world. 

Check out our top ten below:

(please visit the WOW website for ticket prices)




Sisters, Sistas & Transistors
OPEN Banking Hall 
11am – 12pm
How do we fight for gender equality without ignoring other issues such as class, race, sexuality and disability? Come and find out about   the current state of play for feminism in 2018. Join our panelists as they discuss their unique approaches to gender equality.

Speakers include: Katy Jon Went from Gender Agenda, Katherine Deane, UEA lecturer and Access Ambassador, artist Marcia X and Maggie Wheeler. Chaired by Jude Kelly.


Sisu Presents: DJ Workshop & Open Decks Session
OPEN Florin Room
11am – 4pm

Sisu formed from the completion of a female DJ course held at Southbank Centre with the idea in mind to teach female identifying artists how to DJ from Scratch. Hosted by Lucinda & Melissa, the workshop aims to provide an introduction to the skills needed to know how to DJ from Scratch and to help towards kick starting your career as a DJ. The workshop is designed to be very hands-on and practical starting with a workshop then it will end on an open decks session. 

Please book a place via with the subject line ‘DJ Workshop’


Toxic Masculinity
OPEN Sovereign Room
12.30pm - 1.30pm
“Toxic masculinity is everywhere. It’s up to us men to fix this,” said Jordan Stephens. What does ‘being a man’ mean and how does the male ego impact men and women alike? By addressing the notion of toxic masculinity, the panel will explore ways in which men can be helpful allies in the fight for gender equality.

Speakers include: One half of hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and supporter of women's rights Jordan Stephens, local music blogger Alex Cabre, Writers' Centre Norwich Director Chris Gribble and final year student at Norwich Medical School Liban Ahmed. 


Honey I Shrunk the Patriarchy: Positive Parenting 
OPEN Banking Hall
2pm – 3pm

How we can work together to challenge the gender stereotypes that are ingrained in our society?  How is gender constructed and is it possible to raise children free of sexist stereotypes?
Speakers include: Poet, mother, author and spoken word artist Hollie McNish, comedian and father Jarlath Ragan and TV presenter Nina Nannar with her daughter Mimi.  Chaired by author of ‘Gender Agenda’ Ros Ball.


Coercive Control
OPEN Crown Room
2pm – 3pm
‘Coercive control is when a person with whom you are personally connected, repeatedly behaves in a way which makes you feel controlled, dependent, isolated or scared.’ Rights of Women Organisation 2018.  Hear personal stories from survivors and hear about the support structures available in Norfolk.

Speakers include:  Survivors of domestic abuse, Jayne Booth and Sadie Charles, representatives from LEEWAY and Norfolk County Council’s Domestic Abuse Change.


Jude Kelly Keynote
OPEN Banking Hall
4.45 - 5.30pm
Hear Jude Kelly CBE, founder of WOW - Women of the World festival, deliver a keynote on why a gender-equal world is a much better world for everyone. 




Code Switching: Living in Norwich 
OPEN Crown Room
10.30am – 11.30am
How does it feel to be a woman living in a majority white city when you are not white? What compromises do these women have to make to fit in and at what cost? Hear from our panelists as they discuss their experiences of living and working in Norwich.

Speakers include: Artist Marcia X and former commercial pilot and founder of Spokeswoman, Enid Otun.


Emotional Labour: A Woman’s Job, Who Cares? 
OPEN Sovereign Room
12pm – 1pm

Why is it that caregiving often falls on women, be it motherhood, running the household, remembering birthdays or caring for a family member or elderly parent? Is it an unspoken expectation imposed by society that women have adapted to? Can and should women juggle it all?

Speakers include: Stephanie Nimo, author of ‘Was This The Plan?, Helen Burgess from Age Space and Mother Like No Other local business founder and mother Becky Edwards. Chaired by Independent Journalist and Union Organiser Nadine Houghton.


Dysney Disfuction by Michelle Sewell, Hack Theatre
OPEN Club Room
3pm – 4pm

For Alice Marcs, happily ever after is just a visa away.
Alice’s visa expires today. She waits at a tube station on the way to the airport for Prince Charming to rescue her with the promise of a marriage visa and a fairy-tale ending. But as she waits, and still he doesn’t come, Alice is forced to consider having to leave a future she’s always dreamed of, to return to a traumatic past she fled from. Will Alice save herself, or will she keep waiting for her Prince?


True Stories Live Workshop
OPEN Florin Room
1.30pm – 3pm

We all have stories to tell but sometimes we just need a helping hand to make them flow. Drop in to our True Stories Live workshop and let us help you to discover and tell your true stories. The workshop will be led by Molly Naylor who is a well known writer and performer and compere of the regular sell-out True Stories Live events at Norwich Arts Centre. It will be free and fun. No writing or performance experience necessary. Arrive promptly at 1.30pm, first come first served.





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