It was International Women’s Day on Tuesday and I spent the whole day at the Southbank Centre in London for their Women of the World Festival (WOW London). And by “whole day” I mean whole day. Other than a 10 minute walk outside where I was catcalled by some guys in the skate park (you can’t make this shit up), I was surrounded by inspiring women and feminism from 10am til 11pm. What a day.
The beginning of the day was WOW’s WonderWomen event which I managed to score a press ticket to attend. One thousand secondary school girls between the ages of 11-18 spent the day hearing incredible women talk about their heroines; learning dance routines of Beyoncé songs; learning to sing Beyoncé songs and coming up with their own feminist playlist. I sat at the back and watched it all unfold (although I was totally dancing and singing along). It was such an overwhelming experience seeing these teenage girls celebrating women – I almost cried several times. Their enthusiasm and unfiltered screaming and clapping when hearing a slam poem about how women have power and can change the world; their insightful comments about the portrayal of women in music videos and how it affects them; the support they showed each other and the women who spoke on stage, was just incredible. It gave me so much hope.
One of my favourite speakers of the day was 17 year old Jessy McCabe (@jessy_mccabe), who noticed that there were no female composers on the Edexcel Music A Level syllabus and petitioned to get that changed. And guess what?! She won. Just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your age – just one woman can make a difference. It made me feel so excited imagining what the impact of hearing her speak would have on the 11-18 year old girls in the audience.
WonderWomen was just the start of WOW London, the festival is still going on until Sunday 13th March. I would definitely recommend heading down to the Southbank Centre. Even though a lot of the events are sold out there’s still loads of free stuff happening, especially Saturday and Sunday! My friend, Darcy Cole, just happened to also be hanging out at the Southbank Centre and so we met up and watched some talks and Gemma Cairney DJ and interview Sister Sledge! (WE ARE FAMILY!). It’s just such a great vibe in that space.
In the evening I saw Caitlin Moran! You may already know how much I love Caitlin Moran – we filmed a video together last year when she was on her paperback tour of How To Build A Girl and now she’s written a new book Moranifesto about politics. Jude Kelly (the founder of WOW London) chatted with Caitlin on stage about her book, politics and feminism and Caitlin also read out some excerpts from the book which were brilliant and I can’t wait to read the whole thing!
I had such an incredible International Women’s Day – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it! I will most definitely be attending various events at WOW London this weekend so if you also happen to be there please say hello! Would love to hear all your thoughts on women, feminism and teenagers in the comments!