Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly launched WOW – Women of the World in 2010 to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day. It has become a major festival that celebrates women and girls and looks at the obstacles they face.

WOW quickly grew beyond the 21 acres of the Southbank Centre in response to an enthusiastic demand for a global network of festivals. Within a year of its debut in London, the festival began to expand. 

Since its launch, WOW has grown internationally with 21 festivals across five continents to date and over one million people taking part. From Finland to Folkestone and Derry to Dhaka, crossing further continents to Harlem and Hargeysa, Brisbane and Baltimore, WOW continues to grow and cross borders around the world.  

Students and WOW Dhaka hashtag
Students promoting the WOW Dhaka 2019 festival.  WOW is for everyone – women and girls, men and boys can all take part.  

British Council partnership

Southbank Centre have partnered with the British Council to bring WOW to South Asia. Our global network of offices and local staff around the world make us the ideal partner to implement WOW festivals that embrace local cultures and communities, whilst still maintaining the unique format WOW is famous for.

To date, Southbank Centre and the British Council have successfully collaborated on WOW festivals in Pakistan (Karachi), Nepal (Kathmandu) and Sri Lanka (Colombo).  We brought WOW to Dhaka in April 2019.