7 Very Inspiring Moments From Women Of The World Festival

All dedicated to championing incredible women around the world...


In case you missed it - and we’re very sorry if you did - last week something very special happened at the Southbank Centre - Women Of The World Festival (otherwise known as WOW) was back for the fifth year.


A whole week of events dedicated to championing the most incredible women around the world, but also looking at the obstacles that stop women from achieving our amazing potential every single day.

There were talks, workshops, performances from Sister Sledge, and really a lot of fun. Here were just a few of our highlights…

1. We Sung Happy Birthday For Equality

On Saturday the Women’s Equality Party celebrated their very first Birthday. Since the party was founded at last year’s WOW festival by journalist Catherine Mayer and Sandi Toksvig they’ve now got 70 branches nationwide and more than 45,000 members. To mark the occasion Bridget Christie made us laugh, there was a stirring talk from London mayoral candidate Sophie Walker, and incredible 17-year-old Honor Barber made us realize politics is really a lot like a doner kebab (deceivingly tasty looking on the outside, but entirely rotten internally) - plus we all joined Sister Sledge in singing Happy Birthday. What more could we ask for from a party?


2. Annie Lennox Spoke Up. Again.

Singer, songwriter, campaigner and winner of Outstanding Achievement of 2016 at The ELLE Style Awards 2016 was joined in conversation with life hero Jude Kelly, the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and founder of WOW to discuss the humanitarian issues that women all over the world face every day. Needless to say there wasn’t anyone in the room that wasn’t entirely inspired.

3. Caitlin Moran Launched A Book

Caitlin Moran has a new book called Moranifesto, and where could be a better place to launch it than WOW festival? The writer used the platform to discuss reclaiming the word 'feminism', the dire need for affordable housing, why the internet is basically a drunken toddler, and why being funny REALLY matters – in short: all the important stuff.

4. Gemma Cairney Was Her Usual Super Self

ELLE best friend, and the woman who helps make our She Said podcasts a reality, Gemma Cairney (smiling in the picture above) has been involved with WOW since it started. This year she was back to host an array of talks, with other incredible females just like her, that made us feel truly honoured to be a woman.

5. We Learnt A Lot From Shami Chakrabarti

On Saturday lawyer and human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti talked with writer Rachel Holmes about our fundamental rights and freedoms. Drawing on her work as Director of Liberty in campaigning about 42-day detention, privacy laws, and anti-terror legislation - there is nothing not to be in awe of about this woman.

6. We Cheered For One Of Our Own

Hearst Empowering Women’s Leader, and our esteemed colleague, Louise Court, chaired an brilliant panel celebrating the courage, intelligence and the extreme drive of some of the most impressive women throughout history. There have been a lot of them.

7. Martha Lane Fox Told Us To Be More Disruptive

Last, but by no means least, Martha Lane Fox, the founder of Lastminute.com, used the festival to speak about the need for more women in technology. We couldn’t agree more – that’s why in our March issue we asked model, and coding entrepreneur Karlie Kloss to guest edit our Tech Trailblazers issue. We tried to draw attention to the enormous gender gulf that still exists in the technology sphere by talking with six of the most inspiring, successful and generally interesting women in the tech industry - tech trailblazers if you will - and solicited their very best advice, in the hope that we might impart it to future generations of young women.

Read Next: