The Wonderful Women of the World is the soul of WOW Fest at Southbank Centre, London. Jude Kelly, who founded the event in 2010, aimed to create a festival that celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. This year, it began on the 7th and ended on the 12th of March.
Wanting to get involved in this celebration, I decided to volunteer during the weekend of the WOW fest on the 11th & 12th. Safe to stay it was nothing short of ah-mazing!! I volunteered alongside some sweet, dedicated ladies and made some new friends for the future.
I had the opportunity to see the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and watch the great Angela Davis work their Black Girl magic. Their discussions on their experiences as black women and thoughts on the importance of feminism were so powerful and inspiring that I literally felt myself close to tears. I was in awe of these ladies and not the only one! Their sold out events spoke to 2500+ other women who could relate.
So, I could on and on about my fantastic weekend at WOW, but here are the 5 most important things I’ve learnt:
1. Women’s Issues affect everyone!
What I loved about the festival is that may of the issues highlighted, affects both women and men. Gender equality for women would allow a lot of men to shed their hyper-masculine stance, often placed on them by society, culture and traditions.
2. Feminism is hella complicated…
Having studied feminism only a little bit at university, I can admit that Twitter has been a great source for me lately on the topic. Being at WOW Fest I witnessed a lot of complicated/complex discussions on the strands of feminism and which one is right.
Essentially, I agreed that feminism needs to be more intersectional, including a vast array of women and issues.
3. No one has all the answers
WOW Fest was so inspiring because it discussed some really deep and sensitive topics. Questions on race, sexuality and activism were hot points, but it was clear to see that no one had all the answers. We should all strive to find our own answers and impart them to create change.
I loved how Aunty Chimamanda when asked about how to make society wholly more feminist could admit she didn’t have all the answers. I think that’s really important.
4. Not everyone will agree with you
I knew that Chimamanda’s comments on trans-women would definitely come up. It was only a matter of time before someone asked her to clarify her stance. But, even when she did a lot of people still felt quite riled up. I learnt that, that’s okay – not everyone will have the same experiences or opinions as you. Work on agreeing to disagree in a thoughtful and respectful manner, we’re all different for a reason!
5. Be you!
I was really nervous about volunteering for WOW Fest, I can be awkward at the best of times, so I’m not a great conversation starter. But, I loved seeing and meeting all the wonderful women who took part at the event – and they were being themselves.
Whether you were white, a woman of colour, part of the LGBTQI community or even a curious male- everyone who attended came with an open heart and it made for a fabulous event. So, it’s important to be yourself and share whatever, gifts or talents you have with the world!
Find out how to volunteer at the Southbank Centre – Click here
Watch recordings of Chimamanda and Angela – Click here
Be you, all-ways