Jude Kelly, founder of WOW and Annastacia Palaszczuk Premier of Queensland

Jude Kelly, founder of WOW and Annastacia Palaszczuk Premier of Queensland making the announcement of WOW Celebrating the Women of the Commonwealth 2018.

Women from across the Commonwealth will unite ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games for an uplifting festival celebrating the achievements of women and girls.

Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk was joined by Artistic Director of London’s Southbank Centre and WOW creator Jude Kelly to announce her government’s support for the inaugural Women of the World (WOW) – Celebrating the Women of the Commonwealth event to be held in Brisbane in early 2018.

The Palaszczuk Government will partner with Brisbane-based non-profit organisation Of One Mind and Southbank Centre London to deliver the three-day event which will connect, inspire and empower women and girls from around the Commonwealth to make change in their lives and communities.

“WOW will form part of the broader GC2018 arts and cultural program, ensuring the benefits of the Games extend far beyond the 11 days of sport and continue well into the future,” the Premier said.

“The event encourages frank discussions about the barriers which prevent females from reaching their full potential, along with identifying possible solutions to overcome these challenges.

‘‘I’m immensely proud to support WOW which will showcase the achievements of women and girls, their stories, challenges and creativity, as well as the extraordinary diversity of Commonwealth cultures and traditions.”

WOW, to be staged at the Brisbane Powerhouse, will feature workshops, markets, exhibitions, performances, film, concerts and more. Speakers will include well-known leaders and change-makers in politics, arts, science and sports.

The Premier said the event would place a special focus on women and girls living in remote and regional parts of Queensland, as well as females in South-East Asia and the Pacific.

‘‘We’re thrilled to act alongside the Commonwealth Games Federation in its capacity as a world leader and inspiration in addressing the ongoing challenge of gender inequality,” she said.

‘‘On a global scale, WOW is smashing glass ceilings when it comes to gender inequality and this is something the Queensland Government is committed to supporting by welcoming the event to Brisbane.

“The momentum created by WOW will continue through the Games, which will be the first in the history of major multi-sport games to have an equal number of men’s and women’s medal events.

“I’d encourage all Queenslanders with a passion for arts, culture and celebrating women to support this event. WOW is for everyone and is guaranteed to be an uplifting, fun and life-changing experience.”

Ms Louise Martin CBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), congratulated the Queensland Government on its association with WOW.

“With equal number of medal moments for men and women for the first time ever at a major Games, GC2018 will show just how far we have come since the first Games in 1930, when women competed in just over 10% of medal events” Ms Martin said.

“I am thrilled that the first ever WOW will take place as part of the GC2018 Festival programme and hope it is the first of many WOW’s to support, challenge and celebrate our Games and our host nations.

“With the support and commitment of the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jude Kelly CBE of WOW, together we take even greater steps towards the CGF’s, and the Commonwealth’s shared vision for gender equality when we meet on the Gold Coast next year.

‘‘I’d encourage all Queenslanders with a passion for arts, culture and celebrating women to support this event. WOW is for everyone and is guaranteed to be an uplifting, fun and life-changing experience.”

Ms Kelly said she was delighted to be working with women in Queensland to deliver the first ever WOW aligned with a Commonwealth Games.

“The diverse traditions and cultures, and the contrasting and shared experiences for women and girls within this huge global community, will contribute to a fascinating and life-changing WOW program in 2018,” Ms Kelly said.

“The Commonwealth currently has a strong focus on improving opportunities for women and girls including economic empowerment, strengthening women’s leadership and ending violence against women and girls. WOW is a means to stimulate action and change towards these objectives.

‘‘As the largest single community of women in the world, we’re looking forward to bringing the global WOW phenomenon to Queensland again.”

Originating in London in 2010, WOW is now staged in 15 locations across five continents with more regions joining the global movement each year. WOW Brisbane was staged in 2015 and WOW Melbourne will take place later this year.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will run from 4 to 15 April 2018. Bring it on. #WOW

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WOW is reportedly the biggest online movement of women and girls in the world, celebrating them and looking at the obstacles they still face. The global phenomenon started by Jude Kelly to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011. In response to an overwhelming demand, Southbank Centre have been fostering a growing global network of festivals. 1 million people have taken part since then and last year alone there were 20 festivals across the world.