PRESS RELEASE – 11th October 2022
WOW - WOMEN OF THE WORLD MARKS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL 2022
NEARLY 400 WOMEN, GIRLS AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE TAKE OVER THE LASTMINUTE.COM LONDON EYE FOR A MASS MENTORING SESSION
2022 YOUNG LEADERS DIRECTORY OF INSPIRING GIRL ACTIVISTS LAUNCHED
- A SPECIAL WOW TAKEOVER AT MULBERRY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS INCLUDING BEATBOXING AND SPOKEN WORD WORKSHOPS
Today, WOW – Women of the World Festival celebrated International Day of the Girl 2022 by bringing together 180 inspiring women and 180 secondary school students on The lastminute.com London Eye to share their dreams and ambitions as they soar over London.
WOW – Women of the World is a global movement and festival promoting gender equality and celebrating women, girls and non-binary people, run by UK charity The WOW Foundation. Since 2012, 11th October has been marked as International Day of the Girl to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
This unique WOW event offers 180 secondary school girls (aged 13 to 19-years old) from 27 schools and community groups across London and beyond the unique opportunity to meet 180 highly influential and inspiring women including: WOW Founder and CEO Jude Kelly, activist and author of Everyday SexismLaura Bates, Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, Oxford City Cabinet member Shaista Aziz, The Triple Cripples’ Jumoke Abdullahi, Ward Councillor London Borough of Lambeth Sonia Winifred, CEO for Refuge Ruth Davison and the CEO for Bloody Good Period Rachel Grocott.
Each student was matched with three different mentors for 15-minute mentoring sessions during two complete rotations of The London Eye. The mentors joined from a wide range of professional backgrounds and industries from leaders of huge international companies such as Amazon, Google, YouTube, the Tate, Mastercard and Bloomberg, and women who are MPs, Local Coucillors, founders of charities and campaign organisations like End Violence Against Women, as well as journalists, poets, actors, theatre makers and more. Crossing sectors of science, finance, arts, politics, media and more, the students were able to have a snapshot into the ways in which women and non binary people are paving the way for the future.
Imran Tauqir, General Manager of The lastminute.com London Eye, said:
“We’re delighted to support The WOW Foundation in hosting this special event for International Day of the Girl. Now in the 10th year of our partnership with WOW we are proud to join in celebrating the importance, power and potential of girls around the world. As a global symbol of innovation it’s fitting that today the lastminute.com London Eye is a stage for young women exploring their dreams and aspirations. We hope the unique perspectives opened up by the views of our capital will provide inspiration for the girls on this important day.”
Jude Kelly, WOW Founder & CEO said:
“On the 10th anniversary of International Day of the Girl, WOW - Women of the World pays tribute to the extraordinary courage of Iranian school girls as they insist on their right to be equal. Inspired by youthful voices WOW celebrates, platforms and nurtures the amazing activists of the future, with our third annual Young Leaders Directory featuring girls as young as 11 such as climate change activist Licypriya Devi Kangujam and trans activist Kai Shappley. We also held our annual London Eye speed mentoring event, where secondary school girls get the chance to talk to inspirational and influential women in a variety of industries.
We are at a time where political, economical and social injustice faced by young girls and women is at an unprecedented level. From the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, and the Taliban erasing the rights of women and girls to the cost of living disproportionately impacting women’s safety and income. In these bleak moments, we see hope in young activists standing up for gender equality across the globe.By creating these unique WOW experiences, we hope to provide a space for these young girls and non binary people to change our world and their future for the better.”
As part of their International Day of the Girl celebrations WOW have also launched the next edition of their Young Leaders Directory. The directory includes 30 young women aged 11-21 who are known for their work – both in their home countries and globally – in areas including climate justice, period poverty, girls education, sexual violence, disability, race, health and more. Presented in partnership with Purposeful, WOW held two private virtual convenings this weekend to bring together these activists to connect, share ideas and learn from one another to help establish a new network. A global online directory is available now to explore on the WOW website to provide these 30 leaders with a platform to share their work with girls all over the world. The inaugural global directory, launched in 2020, can be accessed here and 2021 accessed here.
For International Day of the Girl, WOW will also be taking over Mulberry School for Girls on Friday 14 October for a special one day WOW Festival. WOW will host workshops for the students including beatboxing, spoken word, comic books, recreating Islamic geometric patterns and school values. The day will also see an opening and closing talk from British-Nigerian activist, political commentator, author and lawyer Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu.
WOW Festivals began in the UK in 2010, launched by Jude Kelly at the Southbank Centre London, where she was then Artistic Director. Through festivals, events and more across the global, WOW celebrates women, girls and non-binary people, and takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential; raising awareness globally of the issues they face, and discussing solutions together. WOW, now run by UK charity The WOW Foundation in partnership with organisations across the world, is a global movement for gender equality. WOW London will be returning for its 13th year at Southbank Centre from 10-12 March 2023.
The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg, and Global Partner Mastercard. This year’s WOW International Day of the Girl activity is made possible by The Big Give and everyone who donated to our Women and Girls match funding campaign.
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10 - 12 March 2023
NOTES TO EDITORS
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 over three million people in 17 countries on six continents, in locations including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA.
Over the last 10 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 equality in their own communities. One example of the impact the festival has had 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 equality 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 Consort.
Bloomberg – the global business, financial information and news leader – is a founding supporter of WOW - Women of the World Festivals. Bloomberg has long supported organisations and causes that advance gender equality and seek to address challenges women face around the world, from maternal and reproductive health to women’s economic empowerment and inspiring the new generation of female leaders. Bloomberg has proudly supported WOW Festivals since 2012 www.bloomberg.com/women
About the Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre occupying a prominent riverside location that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).
International Day of the Girl
The United Nations has declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl, a moment to celebrate girls’ potential and their achievements, while acknowledging the difficult challenges millions face around the world. The first International Day of the Girl took place in 2012.
Purposeful is a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls. The organisation amplifies girls’ voices, resources their resistance, builds solidarity between and across girls’ movements, catalyses collaborative philanthropy and supports innovation in grassroots programming with and for girls. Purposeful's work is both global and deeply local. In Sierra Leone, through a variety of initiatives, it has sparked a groundswell of girls who can access and imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities. Across the world, the With and For Girls Collective runs the world’s only participatory fund by, and for, adolescent girls, and the Global Resilience Fund is a collective response to the COVID-19 crisis, to support girl and young women activists at this watershed moment. Purposeful imagines a world of safety, dignity and bodily autonomy for girls and women everywhere.
The lastminute.com London Eye
The London Eye is conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects. The London Eye is centrally located in the heart of the capital, gracefully rotating over the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. At 135m, the London Eye is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel; a feat of design and engineering it has become the modern symbol representing the capital and a global icon. The experience showcases breath-taking 360-degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks and has been the number one visitor experience in the city for the past decade.
The constant and graceful movement of the London Eye gives visitors an ever-changing perspective of the best city in the world. An experience on the London Eye will lift you high enough to see up to 40km and keep you close enough to see the spectacular details of the city unfolding below you.
About Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe's Number 1 and the world's second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates 137 attractions, 22 hotels and 6 holiday villages in 24 countries and across 4 continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its millions of guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its employees.
See www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information and follow on Twitter @MerlinEntsNews.
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