In partnership with The WOW Foundation, British Council Arts celebrated International Women’s Day through a series of WOW – Women of the World Festival events in Turkey, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Amid the many challenges of the pandemic, WOW has found new ways to unite women and girls across the world and make sure their voices remain at the top of the cultural agenda.
WOW Festivals include talks, performances, workshops, marketplaces, interactive activities, music, comedy, films and more. Most importantly, WOW is for everyone, and brings together people from all corners of society with the inspiration and tools to make change.
Between 1st – 8th March, over 300,000 people viewed online WOW content, increasing to 815,000 views through on demand videos after the Festivals. In Bangladesh, WOW activity was delivered face to face, across the divisional cities of Khulna, Barishal, Mymensingh, Chattogram, Rajshahi and Rangpur; spanning the breadth of the country.
This year’s activity involved over 300 artists, cultural organisations, policy makers and academicians from the UK, South Asia and Wider Europe. WOW Festivals highlight theimpact of women creatives in initiating new collaborations to address women’s issues. The events take inspiration from the power of the arts to create new ways of seeing the world and inclusive forums for reflection and dialogue.
In Turkey, we hosted the first WOW Istanbul, with audiences hearing from leading voices on gender equality in Turkey and the UK, including comedian and creator of The Guilty Feminist, Deborah Frances White alongside a diverse music and performance programme curated by MAYK, Selector Radio and Serious Music in the UK. In South Asia, we were delighted to welcome Malala Yousafzai to speak at WOW Pakistan.
Watch highlights from WOW Pakistan and WOW Istanbul
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai in conversation with British Council CEO Kate Ewart-Biggs and Dr Maliha Khan from the Malala Fund, as part of WOW Pakistan.
WOW Istanbul presents British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed who is joined by kemane (kamancha) player Melisa Yıldırım. Curated by Serious Music.