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International Women’s Day - celebrate with us at WOW Festival


This weekend, the University of London is very excited to be contributing to the tenth anniversary of WOW – Women of the World festival at London’s Southbank. Mark Harrison, Head of Inclusion, reflects on being invited by the WOW festival organisers to furnish one of only five enhanced stalls in the festivals’ famous Marketplace. 

International Women's Day 2020

Over three days, the festival line-up of world-class speakers, activists and performers will be joined by thousands to explore the state of gender equality across the globe and tackle the subjects that matter most to women and girls across the world today. This year’s festival features Naomi Wolf, Deborah Frances-White, Scarlett Curtis, Sandi Toksvig, Emma Dabiri and Shazia Mirza.

And, of course, it’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, whilst also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. 

At the University of London, we are proud of the role we played in opening-up higher education to women; from offering the first degree courses to women back in 1868 to celebrating the contributions of 150 Leading Women with our year-long celebrations in 2018.  
As almost 60% of our staff are female, we also support colleagues each year on the Aurora leadership programme. We are also putting in a great deal of work across all our functions to qualify for the Athena SWAN gender equality award.  

Our stall will be highlighting our on-going contribution to gender equality through our exhibitions, research and post-graduate courses, as well as our flexible online degree courses that make higher education accessible to women locally and around the world. We will also be offering ‘speed mentoring’ to festival-goers to help them explore the benefits that our flexible approach to higher education can offer. 

We will be acknowledging the transformative potential of education to realise a truly inclusive understanding of the global challenges faced by all humanity. And that is why our mission is to make education and research accessible on a global scale.  

And whilst we have made some progress, we recognise that we are at the start of the journey and that there is much, much more to do. Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender equal world is key, and celebrating the achievements of women should be part of that. That’s why we can’t think of a better place to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March than at WOW 2020. 

So please visit our stall and say hello to us this weekend at the WOW festival on London’s Southbank. We will be in the Marketplace from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 March and hope you find the time to come and say ‘hello’ and celebrate with us!