Women of the World festival 2023: Dates, line-up, and how to get tickets

 (WOW )
(WOW )

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Munroe Bergdorf, Sandi Toksvig, and Mary Portas are the latest names to have been announced for the 2023 Women of the World festival at London’s Southbank Centre.

They join a star-studded roster of previously announced speakers including Roxane Gay, Jane Garvey, Oloni, Laura Bates, and Elif Shafak.

The event, dubbed the world’s “biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women”, will return to the capital from March 10 to 12.

It will see a three-day roster of performances and workshops from speakers, activists, musicians, comedians, and many more.

Jude Kelly CBE, CEO and founder of The WOW Foundation, said: “Women and girls are dealing with significant anxiety with the cost of living, health, childcare, and the ongoing epidemic of violence.

“WOW provides the space for everyone to come together to explore solutions and create community, as well as taking time to celebrate amazing achievements across the globe in the ongoing march towards a gender-equal world.”

What is the line-up for Women of the World festival 2023?

There will be three headline evening events across the festival.

The full line-up of events can be found here.

Ahead of the festival on International Women’s Day (March 8), an exclusive one-off screening of Suzie Miller’s award-winning play Prima Facie, starring Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), will be presented at BFI Southbank.

Friday, March 10

Broadcasters Jane Garvey and Fi Glover take the headline evening slot on Friday, analysing some of the big news of the day in an extended live edition of their new podcast.

Jude Kelly CBE will open the day with a session on women, misogyny, and power, with Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, activist and author Laura Bates, best-selling author Elif Shafak, and activist Josephine Kamara.

Other speakers include social entrepreneur and broadcaster Shani Dhanda, columnist and TV personality Megan Barton-Hanson, body-image advocate content creator Stephanie Yeboah, best-selling author Juno Dawson, Zarah Sultana MP, businesswoman and activist Mary Portas, To My Sisters podcast hosts Courtney Boateng and Renée Kapuku, author Liv Little, and actor Lucy Boynton.

Saturday, March 11

On Saturday evening, sexpert, relationship advisor, and author Oloni will discuss orgasms and pleasure in conversation with Tolani Shoneye, co-host of the award-winning The Receipts podcast. They will be joined by special guest, actor, and musician Jordan Stephens (Rizzle Kicks).

Activist, model, writer, and broadcaster Munroe Bergdorf will be discussing her book Transitional, in conversation with Azieb-Hannah Pool, artistic director/CEO of Bernie Grant Arts Centre.

Other speakers across the day include activists Farzana Khan and Raisa Hassan, author of All the Places I’ve Ever Lived In Kieran Yates, award-winning journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Sex Talks Founder Emma-Louise Boynton, broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, comedian Luisa Omielan, Stella Creasy MP, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer, and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed Joeli Brearley.

Sunday, March 12

On Sunday night, Roxane Gay will come to London for one night only. From politics and patriarchy to Beyoncé and reality television, the author of Bad Feminist will join WOW for an evening of conversation. Tickets for this event went on sale on February 1.

Almost exactly a year after her release from prison in Iran, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe also joins WOW in conversation with Tulip Siddiq MP, her local MP who fought tirelessly for her release.

Other speakers include journalist and broadcaster Sali Hughes in conversation with Lauren Laverne, Reach All Women in War’s founder Mariana Katzarova, award-winning journalist Jenni Savin, writer and broadcaster Octavia Bright, author Deborah Levy, actress and author Shobna Gulati, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project Laura Bates, award-winning comedian Rosie Wilby, plus many more.

What is the Women of the World festival?

WOW was founded by Jude Kelly in 2010, in the year that the first event took place at the Southbank.

Now, the festival reaches millions across the globe and supports their desire “to build, convene, and sustain a global movement that believes a gender-equal world is desirable, possible, and urgently required”.

Since the inaugural London Festival in 2010, WOW and its partners across the world have reached more than three million people in more than 100 festivals and events across six continents.

Alongside London, WOW festivals will take place this year in other locations in the UK, such as Scotland, Rotherham, and Leeds, as well as more far-flung cities in countries including Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Athens.

How to get tickets for WOW

Tickets are now on sale here.

Tickets for headline events start from £10, and there is a free programme of festival events on offer. Day passes are £45.

The event starts at 10.30am daily.

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place on 8 March every year.

The celebration is believed to have originated in New York, when the Socialist Party of America organised National Women’s Day in 1909.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity.

“Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have,” the IWD website reads. “A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.

“The IWD 2023 campaign theme drives worldwide understanding of why equal opportunities aren’t enough!”