The third iteration of Women of the World - WOW Madesh festival is being held 0n 6 and 7 December at the ancient city of Janakpur. The edition focuses on the Madhesh belt of Nepal which are ripe with gender equality-related issues and development work.

WOW is a festival built on exploring, engaging in and promoting gender equality across the world. Through talks, workshops, performances, mentorship programs and more, women share stories of change, with the shared goal of intersectional gender equality. This festival which began in London in 2011 has expanded to a global movement of over 20 cities, bringing together women and men, from all backgrounds, to engage in important dialogue and take an honest look on the current issues of gender equality.

The activities that will take place during the festival are:

Bites

The Bites section of the festival is a collection of short story sharing sessions. In this edition of WOW Madesh, the stories are about different experiences of womxn: from being a wheelchair dancer to the journey from slavery to being a provincial deputy speaker. We have a range of stories from different womxn: a transdancer, a nurse from the Musahar community, women stigmatized as Boksis, a young rock climber, young women fighting child marriage. The bites section is curated with a focus on different forms and types of violence inflicted upon women by the state, society and culture, and how women are fighting it creatively and bravely.

Workshops

The Workshop section of this festival is a curated collection of classes, discussions and activities with the goal of group learning. For WOW Madhesh, the workshops are all focused on the Madhesh or issues from the Madhesh. Some examples of our workshops include a discussion on rethinking reproductive and menstrual health, a self-defense class for women and girls, teacher's workshops on art education, Maithili mural painting workshop and more. Workshops are interactive and participant-based. While there are professional facilitators for each, the workshops take the form of educational trainings where exchange of knowledge and skills happen between both the faciliators and participants. 

Marketplace

The Marketplace is the meeting spot for businesses, organisations and other services provided by women and/or for women. This year, the WOW Madhesh marketplace showcases a variety of stalls from local businesses to community service organisations. Some examples include JWDC, IPSSJ, StoryCycle, VSO, WomenLEAD and more. The marketplace will be open for the entire duration of the festival. Drop by to see and hear ideas, products and initiatives made for women by women. 

Speed Mentoring

Speed Mentoring is a form of mentorship from leading, professional women for young mentees. Our group of experienced volunteers, all from different backgrounds provide valuable expertise and knowlede to young girls. The women leaders have 15 minutes with mentees to talk about anything; career development, dealing with societal pressures, or anything else they need advice with.  

Performances

The performance section of the WOW festival is a collection of activities happening throughout the day; from music to theatre to other forms of art, performed mainly by women. This year, the performances are curated by Sareena Rai and are authentic to the site of our festival, Janakpur. The performances will include a showcase of the local jhijhiya dance, theatre performances, concerts and many more; each inspired by the stories and the art of women from the Terai.

Download the event schedule/map from the section below to know more about the event and the activities.