Celebrating Creative Women: London’s Women of the World Festival
In celebrating International Women’s Day, London’s Women of the World festival kicked off March 8th at the Southbank Centre and will run until March 13th. By way of art and expression, Women of the World (WOW) seeks to dive further into the question: “why is gender equality taking so long to achieve?”. Through dozens of creative displays from performance pieces to talks and exhibitions, WOW “celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential”.
Of the festival’s displays, some of the most memorable and hard-hitting are the performance pieces. The festival hosts a myriad of unique performance avenues ranging from spoken word poetry on racial discrimination and assault against women to music and dance that span from traditional church choirs to outrageous hula-hooping dance companies. Likewise, the festival hosts group athletics that include a 5K run and group Afrikan yoga. Many of the festival’s events are free of charge and all aim to exemplify the mission of WOW: “to champion gender equality, celebrate the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examine the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential”.
Notable performance highlights include poet Brigitte Aphrodite’s musical theatre production, My Beautiful Black Dog, which seeks to give viewers an insight into the “complexity of our fragile minds”. My Beautiful Black Dog delves into the stigmas and silence surrounding mental health and personal demons and “encourages the audience to take ownership of their own black dogs”. As a self-identified punk poet, musician, theatre maker and feminist showgirl, Brigitte Aphrodite represents a step towards empowering women and girls to own every part of their personality and psyche by exemplifying that no vice or virtue should be doused in silence or shame. For more information on Brigitte Aphrodite and her other work, visit her website.
Likewise to Brigitte Aphrodite is the work of New York Times writer Caitlin Moran. Moran returns to the WOW stage to launch her new book Moranifesto and “discuss why both women and humour are central to making change happen”. In Moran’s Moranifesto, she tackles the broad concept of making the world a better place while injecting her performance with sparks of humour around topics such as “reclaiming the word ‘feminism’”. Through her humorous pseudo-political writing and outlook on life through a “special gender lens”, Moran acts as a powerful voice to inspire her audience to become involved with issues they find important and seek to make necessary and long-overdue changes to the world. For more information on Caitlin Moran and her writing, visit her website.
WOW was founded in 2011 by Jude Kelly to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The success of the event has led the festival to expand to 15 festivals on five continents: Sydney, Australia; Cardiff, Wales; Alexandria, Egypt; Hargeisa, Somaliland; New York, USA; Karachi, Pakistan; Dhaka, Bangladesh. Though the event is centred around celebrating the achievements and experiences of women, all are welcome to enjoy the festival.