PRESS RELEASE – 18 January 2024
FIRST EVER WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BBC CHILDREN IN NEED, RUNS UNTIL MARCH 2024
ON 12 MARCH 2024, PRESIDENT OF WOW, HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WILL JOIN YOUNG PEOPLE AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE WHERE THE WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL BUS WILL END ITS 6 MONTH TOUR
THE WOW GIRLS FESTIVAL IS TOURING ON A CUSTOM BUILT BUS TO ALL FOUR NATIONS OF THE UK. IT WILL INCLUDE STOPS IN MANCHESTER, BRADFORD, GLASGOW, BELFAST AND FINALLY, LONDON
The WOW Foundation, known for running WOW Festivals - the biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people in the world, has today announced the next leg of its UK-wide WOW Girls Festival tour. Running through to 12 March 2024, the Festival will be brought to a close with a special event at Buckingham Palace with WOW’s President Her Majesty The Queen on 12 March, following International Women’s Day (8 March).
The WOW Girls Festival Bus will park up at the Palace for the event, and Her Majesty will meet young people who have taken part in the Festival. The WOW Girls Festival is 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 next leg of the WOW Girls Festival tour starts in February in partnership with The Garage, Norwich in their sister venue, The Workshop, on 7 February in Kings Lynn. WOW will deliver after school sessions with 11-18 year olds, featuring arts and drama. On 8 February the WOW Girls Festival Bus will head to a school in Norwich followed by The Garage after school, for a workshop with young people. On 9 February the Bus will park up at Attleborough's community organisation, The Lighthouse Charity, and be visited by local schools and young people.
The WOW Girls Festival Bus will then be off to Glasgow on 12 February for a day working with young people at Platform arts centre. On 13 and 14 February in Perth, WOW will work in partnership with Gender Equality Perth in a series of school and community workshops in the city and surrounding areas.
Next up is Manchester; in partnership with Factory International, on 29 February the WOW Girls Festival Bus will visit a local secondary school and on 1 March the Bus will be at Aviva Studios, where WOW Speed Mentoring will take place with up to 80 young people.
In partnership with Bradford Council, the WOW Bus will then travel to Bradford, where it will engage with local schools and creative organisations. On 2 March,Impressions Gallery and City Library will host a fun-filled day of family activities until 4pm, then a later event for teenagers and adults from 5pm. On 3 March the tour will collaborate with Keighley Creative in Keighley for creative activities celebrating local women and girls. The tour will visit a school in Shipley on 4 March with activities for pupils in the full recording studio on board the Bus. On 5 March the Bus will visit a school in East Bowling in the morning, followed by an afternoon session with MAPA Cultural Arts Centre, who will be designing and creating a mural that will sit in their locality. The Bradford tour will end on 6 March, where it will visit local schools in the morning, followed by an afternoon session focused on women and girls in sport, with a panel and taster sessions at Sedbergh Sports and Leisure Centre, alongside Speed Mentoring with students from Bradford College and the University of Bradford.
To celebrate International Women’s Day weekend, the WOW Girls Festival Bus will be back in London to work with schools in Newham on 8 March.
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 until March 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 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.
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.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
7 February Kings Lynn - after school session with 11-18 year olds, featuring arts and drama
8 February Norwich - school visit and workshop at The Garage
9 February Attleborough - Bus at The Lighthouse Charity for visits by local schools and young people
12 February Glasgow - day working with young people at Platform arts centre
13-14 February Perth - school and community workshops in partnership with Gender Equality Perth
29 February Manchester - secondary school visit in partnership with Factory International
1 March Manchester - speed mentoring at Aviva Studios
2 March Bradford - family activities at Impressions Gallery until 4pm, then event for teenagers and adults from 5pm
3 March Bradford - creative activities celebrating local women and girls, in collaboration with Keighley Creative
4 March Shipley - school visit
5 March Little Horton - school visit, afternoon session with MAPA
6 March Bradford - school visits in the morning, afternoon session focused on women and girls in sport, with a panel and taster sessions at Sedburgh Leisure Centre, and Speed Mentoring
8 March London - Newham school visit
12 March London - reception at Buckingham Palace
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 Festival was originally produced and presented by 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 Pakistan (Lahore): 1-3 March 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
About 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 Standard Chartered
We are a leading international banking group, with a presence in 52 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.