Following in the footsteps of WOW Global 24—the first-ever online women’s festival—the British Council organized 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. The programmes explored the themes of violence, justice, climate, money and health and how they affect the lives of women in Nepal.

WOW — Women of the World — is a global movement that champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and 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 on 18 February, 2017 at the Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur, and was convened by Jude Kelly, founder of WOW in partnership with the British Council.The second iteration of the festival was held on 17 February 2018, at the Institute of Engineering (IOE) – Pulchowk Campus, Kathmandu, followed by the latest iteration held in Janakpur, Province-2 on 6 and 7 December 2019.

Programme Schedule


Indigenous Women and Empowerment

WOW emcee and curator Malvika Subba talked to two Nepali women Chini Maya Majhi and Kalpana Limbhu, who have championed the identity of indigenous women and have strived to advocate for indigenous knowledge and culture.

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Social Issues in Personal Stories: An Intergenerational Conversation

Four women poets from different age groups came together for this intergenerational conversation and talked about how poetry has enabled their self-expression and at the same time how this creative tool is able to help them comment on issues surrounding them.

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Witch Accusation and Persecution: A Harmful Practice

An Intersectional Feminist Collective, UN Nepal and the British Council produced a series of mini-documentaries and conversations throughout the months of August and September as a campaign to start conversations around the harmful practice of witch accusation and persecution in Nepal. The programme was curated and hosted by Anjana Luitel who held conversations with persecution survivors, human rights lawyers, journalists, and artists to discuss the topic and to better understand how this practice has been affecting mostly marginalised women from all three geographical regions of Nepal, what the reason behind persecution is and explored how women’s safety needs to be guaranteed.

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Virtual Heritage Tour - The Seven Summits with Shailee Basnet

Shailee Basnet, who led the first all-women team of seven-summiteers and started a journey from Mt Everest in 2008 leading to the group conquering all peaks by 2014talked about the challenges that her group faced throughout the journey and how solidarity and support between the women ended up becoming the strongest motivating factor for them to succeed. She also talked about life after seven-summits and how her team has been working with young trafficking survivors to help them become professional trekking guides.

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Breaking Barriers: Women in Comedy

Watch four women in comedy -- Elena Gurung, Loonibha Tuladhar, Sanjana Maharjan, Yozana Thapa Magar -- in conversation with WOW curator and presenter Malvika Subba. The women talked about their journeys into the world of a rather male-dominant Nepali comedy scene, how they were able to create a niche for themselves and how they put into use their art to talk about social issues mostly concerning women. We also featured performances from the four artists during the talk programme. 

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Breaking the Silence: A Conversation Between Two Deaf Women

In this programme, Nawalparasi-based sign-language teacher and social worker Dipawali Sharma held a conversation with contemporary artist Rashmi Amatya. The women took turns sharing their experiences of being deaf women growing up in Nepal, the struggles they went through for education and to establish themselves as professionals in their respective fields. The conversation was also featured in Nepal Sign-Language. Nepali voice-over and English captions. 

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LGBTIQ+ Expressions

LGBTIQ+ Expressions featured Bites sessions by Activist/Content Creator Shailee Chaudhary, Intersex Rights Activist Esan Regmi and Digital Content Creator Lex Limbu. The speakers talked about their struggles and how they have constantly made an attempt to overcome them through their voice and expression.

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Children's Literature and Gender

To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, WOW Virtual Nepal 2020 brought to you a panel discussion titled Gender in Children’s Literature.
Creating Heroines artist and curator Promina Shrestha talked to author Anuradha, writer, translator and educator Muna Gurung and Room to Read’s Literacy Programme Senior Manager Pawan Karki about the Children’s Literature scene in Nepal. The speakers talked about how inclusive the scene is and how women and other gender minorities are represented in the content produced.

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Women Behind the Scenes

WOW Curator and Presenter Malvika Subba talked to women filmmakers Shanta Nepali, Barkha Mukhiya Rai and Prasuna Dangol about their careers as women behind the scenes in a male dominant industry and how the participation of women in filmmaking has brought a positive change in the content that is produced each year.

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Marani Devi in Conversation with Pallavi Payal

A decade ago, Marani Devi of Mahotari was accused and persecuted of being a witch. She has overcome many odds and is now a social worker in her village. Artist Pallavi Payal caught up to her to talk about her case which became instrumental in bringing about a number of policy-level changes in regards to WAP abolishment and gender-based violence.

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Witch Accusation and Persecution: Rachana Bhattarai in Conversation with Anjana Luitel

WOW Curator and Gender Specialist talked to UNWOMEN representative Rachana Bhattarai about witch accusations and persecution and the research done by UN of the harmful practice.

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See also

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