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    Jude Kelly - Artistic Director of Southbank Centre

    Jude Kelly Artistic Director of Southbank Centre gave a talk to sixth form students on the 19th September 2016

    On Monday 19th Jude Kelly spoke about why she started the WOW festival and her hopes for women in the future.

    Around the world, individuals and communities are insisting on the simple proposition that women must have equal rights and asking the question: 'why is gender equality taking so long to achieve?

    Jude Kelly told us that WOW’s mission is to champion gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential. Launched in 2011 on the centenary of International Women’s Day by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, WOW has since grown internationally, with 15 festivals on five continents to date.

    Jude Kelly considered how, although women have been given the right to vote and the right for an education in England, this is not always the case across the world. Also, in our own country, there are still many opportunities blocked for women, preventing many from moving forward professionally or achieving their dreams in the same way as men. Jude outlined her belief that, as a consequence of this, girls are often seen to set the bar for themselves at a lower level than boys of the same age and background. She spoke of how no society in the world sees the sexes as equals, as in all languages, religions and laws the female sex is inherently seen as inferior  and there are some things in all societies that it is deemed women cannot or should not be seen doing.

    She concluded by saying that the demonisation of women, and often women’s movements, is the primary problem in tackling women’s rights. It is essential for both men and women to work together to have an entirely successful feminist movement, arguing that people need to find the courage to believe in something that will make the world better and then act upon that belief. 

    Some facts about the Impact of WOW

    • WOW is the world's largest cultural festival network of its kind
    • WOW was one of the first mainstream, public forums in which FGM survivors spoke, leading to a change in Government policy in 2014 to stop the practice
    • The UK's Women's Equality Party was founded at WOW
    • Over one million people have been involved in over ten WOW festivals across five continents
    • Over 10,000 women globally have been mentored as part of  WOW’s free Speed Mentoring
    • Most of WOW’s talks are recorded and made available for free on our YouTube channel, with over 500,000 views to date

     ‘WOW is almost single-handedly responsible for enlivening the feminist movement in the UK at the beginning of the 21st century – and I’m delighted that it’s poised to go global’ (Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty)

    Jude Kelly was a fantastic speaker running an awe-inspiring organisation. We have decided to organise our own WOW event in the Sixth Form this year.

    Rachel – Sixth From Senior Prefect.