CELEBRATING THE WOMEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH
6 - 8 APRIL 2018
"I am thrilled that WOW Australia will take place as part of the Gold Coast 2018’s Festival programme and hope it is the first of many WOWs to celebrate, challenge and contribute to the Commonwealth Games and its host cities and nations in the future. Through WOW’s dynamic and inclusive leadership, linking in with the world’s largest celebration of today’s modern, diverse Commonwealth, we’ll take even greater steps towards our collective vision for gender equality and a level playing field for women and men when we meet in Queensland next year.”
- Louise Martin CBE, President, Commonwealth Games Federation
WOW at Festival 2018 took place at the Brisbane Powerhouse from the 6th to the 8th of April with a closing night performance at QPAC.
For the first time, a WOW Festival brought together the stories, achievements and challenges of the women and girls of the Commonwealth of Nations, including a focus on the voices of women and girls living in regional and remote communities. Read more about WOW's Regional Voices program.
WOW at Festival 2018 paid special attention to these voices: to highlighting their stories, achievements and concerns, and enabled them to shape the thinking of the Festival and the WOW global community, and take part in the event itself.
With keynotes, talks, debates, performances, workshops, speed-mentoring, a marketplace, exhibitions and community-building events and even an Under 10s feminist corner, WOW is a catalyst for real change for many areas of women’s lives – politics, relationships, safety, economic participation, arts, fashion, health, science, business and education.
Designed for everyone – women and men, girls and boys – regardless of background or circumstance, WOW is an opportunity to engage with international and national leaders and everyday heroes.
The modern association of independent states which is the Commonwealth of Nations was formed in 1949 – within living memory.
Centuries, even millennia, before these modern political and legal arrangements took shape, many of the lands now included in the Commonwealth states were owned and cared for under traditional law and custom by peoples of First Nations. There are many First Nations across the Commonwealth, and WOW acknowledges their standing, their ancient and living cultures and their significant contribution to contemporary and future society.
In particular, WOW acknowledges our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, including those traditional owners of the land on which our event will be taking place, the Jagera and Turrabul peoples of Brisbane, and the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast.
In welcoming women and girls from First Nations across the Commonwealth, WOW at Festival 2018 aims to extend understanding of the unique place and contributions of First Nation women and girls to contemporary life, and to create a celebration which honours differences and builds connections through shared experiences.
...WOMEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH
“We recognise that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights. The advancement of women’s rights and the education of girls are critical preconditions for effective and sustainable development.”
For WOW at Festival 2018, women and girls from across the Commonwealth of Nations are invited to participate – in shaping the content of the Festival, and as speakers, workshop leaders, creative contributors, performers and audience.
The contemporary Commonwealth is a free association of 52 countries on all six inhabited continents, and includes many small island nations. Commonwealth countries are legally independent of each other, but are united by shared values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. Commonwealth member nations occupy one fifth of the world’s land mass, and represent one third of its population. Over 60% of its people are under the age of 30 years.
The Commonwealth community is culturally, geographically, and politically diverse. And while the conditions for women and girls in the member states vary greatly, many of the challenges and issues around gender equality are common – from economic empowerment to violence against women and women in leadership.
In bringing together women and girls from across the Commonwealth, WOW at Festival 2018 will celebrate their rich cultural diversity, showcase their stories, achievements and strengths, and help them find common ground and solutions to their challenges.