7 Inspiring Gender Equality Campaigns

WOW Festival has been the catalyst for dozens of campaigns, groups, and even a political party – here we celebrate some of our favourites

By WOW - Women of the World Foundation

The WOW Foundation

From campaigns to political parties, WOW London has been the catalyst for an unbelievable line-up of activism and movements that have changed the lives of women across the world. 

In 2012, when WOW was at the very beginning of its story, Bloomberg believed in us and have been supporting the London festival ever since; now proudly supporting The WOW Foundation as an independent organisation working worldwide. 

In the past 10 years we’ve collected thousands of stories all over the world of how WOW has inspired people.

Audience members at a WOW eventWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Women’s Equality Party

On 2 March 2015 author and journalist Catherine May proposed founding a Women’s Equality Party during a debate on women in politics held as part of WOW London. She rang broadcaster and author Sandi Toksvig the next day to seek Sandi's support, which was when Sandi told her that she'd intended to propose exactly the same thing as part of the closing night festivities at the WOW Festival. They immediately agreed to work together.

Sandi Toksvig at WOW London (2019-03-09) by Alice BoageyWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Nimco Ali, Anti-FGM campaigner

Nimco Ali, Survivor and campaigner, spoke at WOW in 2011. Four years of campaigning later, the Government made the largest financial commitment to the issue by any Government and a future without FGM is now a real possibility.

“WOW has been an amazing platform to share the vision and movement behind a world free of FGM," she told WOW. "Something which was just a dream when I took my first steps into activism at a WOW bite nine years ago is now a tangible reality. Thanks to WOW we have been able to leverage the voice of women and girls around the world to achieve real change. Ending FGM by 2030 is now within our sight...Without WOW I know I would not be the woman and activist I am today."

Nimco Ali at WOW London (2019-03-08) by Alice BoageyWOW - Women of the World Foundation

WOW Bradford

In 2016 WOW started in Bradford and the Bradford WOWsers – WOWsers is the name of WOW's programme working with girls aged 14+ in schools and communities – were formed. The WOWsers went on to create Speakers Corner, a permanent collective with a venue, programme and activist agenda in Bradford. Four years on and they are still going strong; transforming the city and the lives of those living in it.

Gemma Cairney at WOW Bradford (2017) by Karol WyszynskiWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Girls Rock London

This charity runs music projects for girls and women in London to help get girls involved in music and achieve gender equality in the music industry.

Women of the World festival changed my life," Jessie Maryon Davies from Girls Rock London said. "It was there, in 2015, that I met three extraordinary women with whom I went on to set up Girls Rock London. We wouldn't be where we are without WOW - the space it creates; the platform it provides; the conversation it opens and the voices it connects…”

Women at WOW LondonWOW - Women of the World Foundation

Mums Like Us

This group creates a space for talking about motherhood and disability; helping build conversations around being a parent with a disability and connecting mothers with others in similar situations for support and advice

"WOW was such a turning point for me in terms of finally having the confidence to try and connect with other disabled mums." Speaker for Mums Like Us

Sandi Toksvig at WOW LondonWOW - Women of the World Foundation

UK Supports Yazidi Women and Girls

Louisa de Albuquerque created UK Supports Yazidi Women and Girls to raise awareness after hearing Yazidi MP Vian Dakhil talk about the Yazidi genocide at WOW: "We came away with fighting force; we must do something to help. So I decided to set up the campaign."

WOW Day of the Girl at the London Eye (2019-10-11) by Ellie KurttzWOW - Women of the World Foundation

The Survivors' Collective

Silke Grygier set up the Survivors Collective after attending WOW in 2014: "I spoke out about sexual abuse at WOW and so many people came up to me afterwards saying "me too". It really made me wanna reach even more people, so I launched a collective and a YouTube channel where we can meet."

The organisation raises awareness of sexual abuse, increases visibility of those affected in order that people can speak out rather than being talked about, and runs amazing projects, campaigns and talks all year-round.

Sparkly WOW Capes in Bradford (2017) by Karol WyszynskiWOW - Women of the World Foundation

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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