PRESS RELEASE – 28 September 2023
FIRST EVER WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BBC CHILDREN IN NEED, WILL RUN FROM INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL ON 11 OCTOBER 2023 THROUGH TO INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY ON 8 MARCH 2024
OVER SIX MONTHS WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL WILL TOUR ON A CUSTOM BUILT BUS TO ALL FOUR NATIONS OF THE UK, INCLUDING STOPS IN LIVERPOOL, BRADFORD, GLASGOW, AND BELFAST
WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL KICKS OFF AT THE LASTMINUTE.COM LONDON EYE WITH A SPEED MENTORING SESSION FEATURING ELIZABETH DAY, JULIA GILLARD AND BARBIE 2023 ROLE MODEL DR MAGGIE ADERIN-POCOCK ON 11 OCTOBER
2023 WOW YOUNG LEADERS DIRECTORY ALSO LAUNCHED TODAY INCLUDING INSPIRING ACTIVISTS FROM UKRAINE, AFGHANISTAN, THE UK AND MORE, CAMPAIGNING ON TOPICS INCLUDING CLIMATE JUSTICE, PERIOD POVERTY, AND EDUCATION
THE BARBIE BRAND ANNOUNCED AS WOW UK GIRLS CHAMPION - WITH A MAJOR SPONSORSHIP OF WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL, SUPPORTING INCLUSION OF PRIMARY SCHOOL TOUR VISITS ENCOURAGING EMPATHY AND EMPOWERMENT
STANDARD CHARTERED ANNOUNCED AS WOW GLOBAL GIRLS CHAMPION, SPONSORING MENTORING ACROSS GIRLS FESTIVAL TOUR AND WOW’S INTERNATIONAL WORK WITH YOUNG LEADERS
The WOW Foundation, known for running the WOW London Festival - the biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people in the world, has today launched a brand new festival for girls. Starting on 11 October, International Day of the Girl, and running through to International Women’s Day on 8 March next year, the WOW Girls Festival will be a force for change across society in how it sees girls, their potential and the opportunities it offers for their future, both in the UK and overseas, working with global partners.
The Girls’ Futures Report 2022 found that girls’ confidence dips between the ages of 14 and 18 and does not recover significantly. The 2022 Steer Education report also revealed that girls as young as 11 are hiding signs of “deep distress” from their parents and teachers, with doubts about their futures and limiting self beliefs cementing themselves in teenage years. The WOW Foundation is now joining forces for the second time with BBC Children in Need (CIN) to launch the WOW Girls Festival tackling some of these issues. Their previous collaboration in 2020, as part of the groundbreaking CIN A Million & Me programme, found that fun, happiness and creative self-expression were particularly important approaches to addressing the identified gaps in the provision of activity to tackle gender difference. WOW has now created WOW Girls Festival shaped from these findings and focusing on better outcomes for girls and all young people. The Festival will tour the UK from October in a special ‘WOW Girls Festival Bus’.
The WOW Girls Festival Bus is an interactive space created with and for young people, working with Getaway Girls in Leeds and artist/designer Emma Hardaker. Throughout the Bus, visitors can take part in a creative exploration of gender equity, through play, reading, digital experiences and a recording studio. The WOW Bus will host Speed Mentoring, panel talks and discussions, taking workshops and activities to all corners of the UK, reaching young people from all backgrounds in the heart of their own communities. With a focus on girls, but including all young people, activities from the Bus are designed to build resilience, wellbeing and good mental health. Tour stops include Kent, Glasgow, North Wales, Liverpool, Norfolk, Belfast, Bradford and Manchester.
The Festival begins on International Day of the Girl (Wed 11 Oct 2023) with a morning of live events on the Bus situated on London’s South Bank as well as WOW Speed Mentoring on the London Eye, live talks for guests hosted at the National Theatre, the launch of four new Activity Packs for schools and the fourth annual wow Young Leaders Directory.
WOW Speed Mentoring on the lastminute.com London Eye offers 180 school students aged 13-19, from 30+ schools and community groups the opportunity to meet 180 highly influential and inspiring women and non-binary people. The pairings share their stories, dreams and ambitions as they soar over London in 15 minute rotating sessions. Previous mentors have included campaigners Baroness Doreen Lawrence, and Shami Chakrabarti, singer Jessie Ware, model and activist Adwoa Aboah, broadcasters Gemma Cairney, Fatima Manji and Ronke Philips, actors Julie Walters, Noma Dumezweni and Gillian Anderson, comedian Ruby Wax, and politicians including Dawn Butler MP, Jo Swinson MP, Justine Greening MP, Stella Creasy MP and Angela Constance MSP.
On International Day of the Girl WOW will also release its 2023 WOW Young Leaders Directory. Launched in 2020, the Directory works with global partners to identify and profile girls and non-binary young people from across the globe, who are demonstrating extraordinary leadership in activism and leading campaigns for change. Leaders in the 2023 Directory range from Pakistani women’s rights and education activist Amna Quddus, and Malaysian student activist Ain Husniza, who has gained recognition for her efforts in promoting gender equality in schools and speaking out against rape culture, to 13-year-old Yeva Skalietska from Ukraine, whose diary You don't know what war is: the diary of a young girl from Ukraine was published last year and all girls robotics team the Afghan Dreamers.
Jude Kelly said, “Young people have been at the heart of our work since I founded WOW in 2010 and I am so excited that for the first time ever we are offering them their very own WOW Festival. We know that girls are facing more pressures than ever before and we are so looking forward to meeting young people across the UK and finding out what matters to them, as we work together to make a gender equal world a reality for future generations.”
The WOW Foundation is also creating four inspiring Activity Packs that will be available from October for education providers and community leaders to use. They have been co-designed with and for young people to link to the national curriculum and offer creative activities and thought provoking stimuli to bring the topics of mental health, personal safety, relationships, community and finance to life.
As well as the WOW Girls Festival for 2023-2024, WOW will continue its work in partnership around the globe, with Festivals and Think Ins taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brisbane, Lahore, Athens, Istanbul, Kathmandu, Kigali and Baltimore.
Also announced today is an exciting new partnership with Factory International to present a 2024 WOW Festival at Manchester’s landmark new cultural venue, Aviva Studios. More details of the new programme are to be revealed in due course, with lots of WOW Festival firsts included.
The WOW Girls Festival is supported by BBC Children in Need and in partnership with WOW UK Girls Champion Barbie who are extending the tour to reach primary aged children, and WOW Global Girls Champion Standard Chartered Bank who are supporting the Girls Festival’s international reach.
Kelly Philp, Senior Director Marketing Mattel UK says: “Barbie was created in 1959 to show girls more choices, and we are thrilled to deepen this purposeful mission and positively impact girls through our long-term partnership with the WOW Foundation, reaching thousands of girls across the UK with Barbie Role Models, inclusive dolls and empathy workshops.”
Claire Dixon, Standard Chartered’s Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing said, “Standard Chartered is delighted to be supporting this year’s WOW festival as the WOW Global Girls Champion. Through our global Futuremakers initiative, we focus on tackling economic inequality and promoting inclusion for the next generation, particularly girls and young women. As WOW Global Girls Champion, we are excited for the opportunity to leverage our global network and expertise in this area to celebrate young girls and their potential futures while supporting more girls to access the knowledge and networks to achieve better economic outcomes for themselves and their communities.”
The WOW Girls Festival Bus is funded through a partnership between The WOW Foundation and BBC Children in Need and the tour is supported by Arts Council England.
The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg.
For further information please contact Skye Redman at Bread & Butter PR on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07951 980 905
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About The WOW Foundation
The WOW Foundation was created by Jude Kelly CBE in 2018 to run the global movement that is WOW - Women of the World Festivals. The Festivals began in the UK in 2010, launched by Kelly at the Southbank Centre London, where she was Artistic Director, to celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face, and discussing solutions together.
To date, WOW has reached five million people in 45 locations on six continents, in locations including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA.
Over the last 13 years the Festivals have developed a reputation as a space for world renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers including Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Salma Hayek, to come and participate, alongside thousands of women and girls who don’t have public profiles but are doing amazing things. WOW provides platforms for people of all kinds, changes attitudes, brings communities together and provides a unique space for people to work together towards gender equity in their own communities. One example of the Festival’s impact came in 2015, with the founding of the Women’s Equality Party by Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer.
In 2018 Kelly left the Southbank Centre to run The WOW Foundation full time as a charity working to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is possible and desirable through festivals and empowering women and girls. The unique festival model creates numerous pathways for participants to take part in WOW projects, amplify their own causes, or start new initiatives which have a wide impact on communities. It is the biggest, most comprehensive and most significant festival dedicated to presenting work by women and promoting equity for women and girls.
WOW festivals and events are presented by arrangement with the Southbank Centre.
The President of WOW - Women of the World is Her Majesty The Queen.
WOW Festivals will be taking place around the world in the next 12 months:
WOW Australia: Voices Shaping the Future: 19-21 October
WOW Rio: 27-29 October
WOW Pakistan (Lahore): 27-28 January 2024
WOW Istanbul: 1-3 March 2024
WOW Kathmandu: 2024 tbc
WOW Athens: 6-8 April 2024
WOW Kigali: Summer 2024 tbc
WOW Baltimore: April 2025 tbc
BBC Children in Need
BBC Children in Need believe every child and young person deserves the opportunity to thrive and be the best they can be.
BBC Children in Need’s ambition is to create lasting, positive change across the UK for the children and young people who need it most. Together with the BBC and partners, BBC Children in Need aim to inspire the nation in support of their work.
BBC Children in Need’s 1,700 local charities and projects work tirelessly in every corner of the UK to help children & young people overcome the additional challenges they currently face, including supporting children and young people living in poverty, providing emergency support to families in crisis, providing comfort to children feeling sad, lost and alone, helping children overcome social injustice and supporting children to feel safe and secure again.
Further information on BBC Children in Need can be found at bbcchildreninneed.co.uk
About Factory International
Factory International commissions, produces and presents a year-round programme of original creative work and special events at Aviva Studios, its landmark new home in Manchester, online, and internationally through its network of co-commissioners and partners. It also stages the city-wide Manchester International Festival every other year.
The design of Aviva Studios, is led by Ellen van Loon of the world-leading practice Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Built with flexibility in mind, the building is based around large, open, adaptable spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling artists to develop and create large-scale work of invention and ambition of a kind not seen anywhere else in the world. A unique canvas to make, explore and experiment, audiences can enjoy the broadest range of art forms from major exhibitions and concerts to intimate performances and immersive experiences. The venue’s development is led by Manchester City Council, with backing of £99.05m from HM Government and £7m National Lottery funding from Arts Council England.
Factory International builds on the legacy of Manchester International Festival, one of the world’s leading arts festivals, and the first to be entirely focused on the commissioning and producing of ambitious new work. Staged every two years in Manchester since 2007, world-renowned artists from different art forms and backgrounds create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work in venues and spaces across Greater Manchester.
Factory International plays an important role in the lives of Greater Manchester residents, bringing jobs, skills, training and creative opportunities. Through the Factory Academy, Factory International is training the creative workforce of the future, while its pioneering creative engagement and artist development programmes create year-round opportunities for local people to get involved, from participating in flagship commissions to shaping the organisation through involvement in its public forums.
About Standard Chartered
We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in 53 of the world’s most dynamic markets and serving clients in a further 64. Our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity, and our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, here for good.
Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges.
Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogues of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain, and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO®, Masters of the Universe®, Monster High® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or licence in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming and digital experiences, music, and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. Visit us online at mattel.com.