WOW — Women of the World — is a global movement that champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential. Festivals take place year-round across around the world and were first held in Kathmandu in 2017 at the Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur, and was convened by Jude Kelly, founder of WOW in partnership with the British Council. Since then  WOW in Nepal has been organised in Kathmandu in 2018, in Janakpur in 2019 and virtual iterations have been organised in 2020 and 2021. This year, we are travelling to Lumbini province for the 5th edition of WOW which will see a one-day physical festival and a 10-day-long digital campaign starting from the International Women’s Day on 8 March.

WOW uses the power of stories, narratives and the arts to create engagement on the themes of gender equality. WOW Festival format is consistent across all global chapters, they contain the following strands:

Bites Soap-box moment where women/girls/men share their personal stories to connect with others working towards a more egalitarian world
Workshops Educational training intended to provide knowledge and skill exchange between facilitating expert and attending participants
Panels   Panels are moderated on a particular theme/issue of Gender Equality
Speed Mentoring Women leaders mentor young women/girls for 15 minutes, four mentees in an hour. 
Marketplace The marketplace brings together products, ideas, initiatives and other goods/services by women for women.
 Pop-up Performances A range of activities happening throughout the event day(s) in-between stage programmes and on open grounds  

Women of the World Nepal 2022

Women of the World Nepal 2022 is the fifth editing of the WOW festival in Nepal, the physical festival of which is being hosted by Lumbini Development Trust at the Lumbini Park. The upcoming iteration will focus on a hybrid delivery format combining virtual content release and campaigning with physical events hosted in Lumbini Park.

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Women of the World Week 2021

WOW Week encompassed the breadth of our past physical Festivals. It also functioned as a follow-up to the conversations we started through WOW Virtual (2020) and the last physical edition in Janakpur, WOW Madhesh.   

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WOW Virtual Nepal 2020

Following on the footsteps of WOW Global 24—the first-ever online women’s festival—the British Council organised a series of virtual programmes in the months between August and October. An assortment of programmes included panel discussions, one-on-one conversations, performances, virtual tours and book read-aloud featuring Nepali women from different parts of the country and from different walks of life. 

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WOW 2019 — Janakpur

The event was held in December at the ancient city of Janakpur. The edition focused on the Madhesh belt of Nepal which are ripe with gender equality-related issues and development work. WOW event was held for two days in multiple venues of the city.

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WOW 2018 — Kathmandu

The second edition of WOW was held in Kathmandu on 17 February at the Institute of Engineering (IOE) – Pulchowk Campus, Kathmandu. 

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WOW 2017 — Kathmandu

WOW was held in Nepal for the first time in February 2017 at the Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur.

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What is WOW?

WOW is a festival that celebrates women and girls and takes a frank look at the obstacles they face across the world. There are talks, performances, activism, workshops, food, music, mentoring, workshops and more. WOW is for everyone, and brings people together from all corners of society - both speakers and audience members - energising and providing the inspiration and tools to make the change. WOW is a place where hundreds of women’s stories can be shared, feelings vented and minds influenced. Each WOW is for everyone, bold and broad-based in approach, both lively and serious, bringing together people from all corners of the society.

WOW launched in 2011 at London’s Southbank Centre and was founded by Jude Kelly CBE. Past speakers in London have included: Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Shami Chakrabarti, Salma Hayek, Alice Walker, Caitlin Moran, Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry, Leymah Gbowee, and Christine Lagarde. 

The WOW movement is growing, and is now in over 20 cities across 5 continents including Karachi in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Finland, New York and Baltimore in the USA, across the UK and Australia and in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Around the world, individuals and communities, including an increasing number of men, are insisting on the simple proposition that women must have equal rights and asking 'why is gender equality taking so long?' The global WOW movement is growing at a time when female voices have become immensely powerful as a force for positive change. 

Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre draws on its heritage as a festival site, with art and activities inside and outside. Southbank Centre encourages everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways and passionately believes the arts have the power to transform lives.