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The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception on International Women’s Day to celebrate the Women of the World Festival

8th March 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception on International Women’s Day

The Duchess of Cornwall hosts a reception on International Women’s Day

The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on International Women’s Day to celebrate the Women of the World Festival.

The Duchess is President of Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World festival - which runs throughout this week.

The WOW festival has grown to become a global network of festivals which champion gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls and examining the obstacles which stop them from fulfilling their potential.

Now in its seventh year, WOW reaches almost two million people across five continents. This year's London festival has issued a call to action for women and girls to identify their one solution to make the world a fairer place for their peers.

Leading women from national life attended the event today, including actress Gillian Anderson, author Kathy Lette and entrepreneur Karren Brady.

Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre's artistic director and WOW founder, said: "As women's progress accelerates globally we are seeing backlash and resistance surfacing, with basic rights under threat and a frightening increase in violence against women.

"In using all our creativity to support each other, we can find the courage to move beyond our own circles and learn how other women face challenges different from our own.

"WOW celebrates and learns from diversity of all kinds - and welcomes everyone to be part of this global movement for change."


A speech by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at the Women of the World Festival reception, Buckingham Palace

Published on 8th March 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm delighted to welcome you all to Buckingham Palace on International Women's Day, to celebrate the inspiration of the indomitable Jude Kelly.  As the founder of WoW, she has produced bigger and better Festivals every year at the South Bank Centre in London… and as its proud President, I feel honoured to have been part of it since its conception.

Now, in these turbulent times, I believe that it's more important than ever for women of all ages, and from every walk of life, to unite.  WoW provides that place… a place where hard-hitting issues that deeply affect women's lives can be openly discussed, and where obstacles that block their paths can be faced together; it gives them a chance to talk about different solutions to life's challenges and above all, it celebrates and supports the achievements of remarkable women and girls worldwide.

WoW is too big to be limited to its London home: twenty other Festivals are spreading the word - from Bradford to Baltimore, from Cardiff to Karachi- with seven more in the pipeline.  I myself was in Sydney to launch WoW Australia in 2012 and in Washington for the 2015 Festival, and I hope to be part of many more.

Although WoW is growing across five continents, it has not lost its link with the everyday lives of women, and what matters to them.  Before every Festival, wherever it may be, there are 'think-ins' open to everyone.  Some of the events to emerge from the Bradford 'think-ins' will include a discussion of 'Women crossing borders', a session on mento ...

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