Women of the World (WOW) Australia is coming to Brisbane in April 2020 bringing feminine power to the forefront of social, political and cultural conversations.
The three-day event will comprise of performances, conversations, panels and exhibitions that unite an array of talent including First Nations leaders and activists.
The festival will tackle the big issues facing females and aims to create pathways to a future where gender does not determine the accessibility and capacity of opportunities.
Global Advisor for the WOW Foundation and Executive Producer of WOW Australia, Cathy Hunt, said the event is a chance for women across the nation to unite and speak on issues affecting them.
“It’s about thinking about all the big issues of the world in a different way and for me, this has two effects. One is seeing this through the perspective of women, and what women can do and the way we can lead, the way women behave and deal with issues.
“But also, taking on a diverse perspective of a collective of women rather than a homogenous take on how to deal with everything,” Ms Hunt said.
Ms Hunt hopes that these diverse conversations can contribute to powerful, cultural change within the broader Australian community.
“It’s about having these big conversations and having them in spaces that hold artists and creatives, I believe that it’s about the culture. We are trying to change hearts and minds on these big issues and that calls for cultural change, we can’t get that social change unless we have cultural change in Australia.”
“And the best way to create cultural change is to hear from all of community, hearing stories whether through a poem, through a song, through an artwork. That can often keep [us] thinking about something and I think that is one of the best communication skills we have.”
The festival will hold space for strong female First Nations voices, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO and former Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Reconciliation Australia and current Co-Chair of the Eminent Persons Panel of Path to Treaty Queensland, Jackie Huggins AM.
Both women are among other speakers such as former Governor General Quentin Bryce and 27th Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
First Nations singer-songwriter, Christine Anu, will also be performing at WOW. She will share the stage with Spinifex Gum, a collaboration between The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Marliya Choir, who are young First Nations women who sing in both English and Yindjibarndi. Spinifex Gum tells true stories of racism and injustice, and the legacies of colonisation.
The festival will also host the Healing Space, which gives participants the opportunity to sit with a circle of weavers, to try beauty products made ethically from traditional bush medicine and participate in a yarning circle.
Ms Hunt hopes the event will bring together and inspire women from all walks of life and create connections and community between them.
“We have to walk together and that means that we don’t cut other people [short]. We walk as one. People may be doing things slightly differently and in different ways, but we are working together with each other and respecting one another.”
“We get all sorts of types of people coming to us and saying WOW changed my life, and that’s a big thing. People go back home to their communities and speak on issues that they didn’t have the confidence to do before. But they are inspired by seeing women like them having done something and realising they can do it.
“There are very few forums where women can come together and hear the stories of really strong women, and really strong and powerful First Nations women.”
WOW Australia 2020 is supported by the Queensland State Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, Griffith University and QSuper.
WOW will take place at the Brisbane Powerhouse from April 2-5, 2020.
For more information and tickets, access: www.wowaustralia.com.au.
By Rachael Knowles