British Council

WOW (Women of the World) is a global movement of festivals and the people who make them. It is coming to Dhaka for the first time in 2019.

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 a 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 five 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. Thinkins are brainstorming sessions where a broad cross-section of women from all backgrounds and walks of life come together to share their ideas and stories and to design the WOW programme.

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 ask '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 Opportunity: WOW Chapters

The 2019 WOW festival programme will be planned through a series of divisional WOW chapters in July – October 2018 across four locations:

Rajshahi :     05 July 2018

Khulna :        02 August 2018

Sylhet :         13 September 2018

Rangpur :      04 October 2018 

These all inclusive community events are for women and men, teenagers and children, and could include panel discussions, workshops and performances. These divisional WOW chapters will inform the programme design of next year’s full-scale festival.

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