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 February 18th 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. This time, we are taking the festival out of the Valley and to the vibrant cultural city of Janakpur in Madhesh. The programme, this time around, will be held for two days on 6 and 7 December.
WOW uses the power of stories, narratives and the arts to create engagement on themes of gender equality. WOW Festival format is consistent across all global chapters, they contain the following strands:
WOW 2019 — Janakpur
We are moving forward with preparations for the third iteration of Women of the World. The event is scheduled to be held in December at the ancient city of Janakpur. The edition will focus on the Madhesh belt of Nepal which are ripe with gender equality-related issues and development work. This year, WOW will be held for two days in multiple venues of the city.
WOW 2018 — Kathmandu
The second edition of WOW was held in Kathmandu on 17 February at the Institute of Engineering (IOE) – Pulchowk Campus, Kathmandu.
WOW 2017 — Kathmandu
WOW was held in Nepal for the first time in February 2017 at the Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur, and was attended by 6000 people.
What is WOW?
WOW is a festival that celebrates women and girls and taking 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, minds influenced and fun had. Each WOW is for everyone, bold and broad-based in approach, both lively and serious, bringing together of people from all corners of society.
WOW launched in 2011 at London’s Southbank Centre, and was founded by Jude Kelly CBE, Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director. 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, Finland, New York and Baltimore in the USA, across the UK and Australia and in Hargeysa, Somaliland.
There were Thinkins in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, which featured the stories of women from across South Asia.
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. The festival concept belongs to London’s Southbank Centre and was founded by Jude Kelly CBE, Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director.
British Council is the world’s leading cultural relations organisation and creates opportunities for people in the UK and worldwide to understand each other, to work together, and learn from one another. We see this as crucial to building secure, more prosperous, and sustainable futures for us all. We build trust and understanding between different countries and cultures and develop strong international links that are of benefit to people in Britain and the rest of the world. We call this work – cultural relations.
British Council works with a host of national and international partners to develop relevant content and an overall South Asian scope for regional WOW events.
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.