‘Very simply it’s about promoting equality’

Jude Kelly, who is bringing the Women of the World festival to Derry this weekend.
Jude Kelly, who is bringing the Women of the World festival to Derry this weekend.

Jude Kelly is in the perfect position to curate a festival celebrating everything about women.

She is arguably one of the most accomplished and prominent women in the UK arts scene. Jude is the current Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London and has directed over 100 productions, is on the board of World Book Night and sat on the Cultural Olympiad Board.

And this weekend she is bringing the Women of the World festival - a three day celebration and exploration of all things female to Derry.

She says the event, which originally began in London, is designed to be “both serious and lightweight”.

“We are not here with some angry manifesto,” she said. “My agenda is very simple - if you are a feminist you believe in equality and you want to do want you can to help society achieve that goal.

“It’s not about being angry.”

And yet Jude admits that for many young women feminism has becoming somewhat of a dirty word.

“I have spoken to many young women who do not like the label, and yet they have the same concerns and same issues that we all want to tackle.

“The Women of the World festival is about embracing the story of women.

“It is about picking up the debate where we had left off and running with it - and discussing how we can make those necessary strides towards equality.”

Today is the first day of the festival, and the day’s events are primarily aimed at secondary school age young women - although men are far from excluded.

“Our young women are connected to a whole new world,” Jude said. “They are bombarded with very strong messages of what women should be, what we should look like.

“It’s vitally important to put forward positive role models.

“There are many young women who don’t know the history of the women’s movement but who still say they experience discrimination.”

For the full programme of events visit www.derryplayhouse.co.uk