For sustainable growth it is essential to ensure that future economies are both dynamic and inclusive; that opportunities are provided for all. Women/girls, gender minorities, persons with disabilities and other communities who are marginalised need to be integrated as both beneficiary and shape in social outcomes.
Despite recent progress, public engagement remains low for many who have been traditionally marginalised by prevailing social structures, perceptions and other barriers. This underpins the lack of an enabling environment to deliver transformative change.
Arts and culture promote creative expression and offer a safe space where a diversity of voices can flourish. Developing and sharing narratives about identity and cultural memory shape public debate, enrich creative expression and enterprise and can positively influence civil agency and social cohesion.
As a cultural relations organisation, the British Council has a role to play in ensuring there is equal opportunity for growth and advancement for all. We therefore place equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our ambitions. Besides embedding our EDI values across all programmes, we also run programmes like Women of the World, Creating Heroines, Disability and Arts to deliver:
- Increased awareness and agency
- Enhanced access to resources and opportunities
- Changes in attitude, beliefs, practices and discriminatory social norms
- Fostering dialogue, collaboration and collective action
In partnership with the WOW Foundation, UK, we explore, engage and promote gender equality. Using the power of stories, narratives and the arts, the Women of the World Festivals in Nepal celebrates the achievements of women/girls and takes a frank look at challenges facing gender equality and intersectional issues. WOW Festivals have reached more than 20,000 directly and millions indirectly through physical and digital editions.
Creating Heroines is a regional project that works with creatives interested in developing practice or content around gender topics. Since 2018, Creating Heroines has supported more than 50 women creators with workshops, grants and showcases.
Co-production grants to three emerging storytellers to use films - both fiction and non-fiction narratives - to create short films on gender themes that can be presented to international audiences.
'In our own words' is a platform for young people to write the kind of short stories they would want to read. The stories highlight perspectives of young people around important topics in our society with the two books focusing on gender and mental health.