WOW - Women of the World is an international festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls and looks at some of the obstacles they face across the world. The women and girls-focused festival is organised by strategic partners the British Council, Mongol Deep Foundation and CCD Bangladesh, in partnership with UK charity The WOW Foundation. The aim of the festival is to bring people together to combat the inequality and discrimination they face in society and provide support and encouragement by fostering a safe space for dialogue. This all-inclusive festival will feature panel discussions, pop-up performances, WOW Bites, Under 10's Feminist Corner, workshops, speed mentoring, marketplace, and musical performances. 

Join us at WOW at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka on 24 and 25 February 2023.


Film Screenings

  • Bangladesh Cymru Climate Stories: Women Building Resilience Talk
    Arranged by: Dhaka DocLab 
    The directors and producers of short films commissioned under British Council’s International Collaboration Programme project ‘Bangladesh-Cymru Climate Stories: Women Building Resilience’ discuss about different women travelling through different aspects in life. 
    Date and location: 2.45-3.15 p.m., 25 February 2023, Auditorium, Sangeet O Nrittyaka
  • Film: Scooty 

Director: Arifur Rahman
This short film speaks volumes about an independent girl named Onu Bahar, who is bound to use public transport every day and has to face sexual harassment very often. One gloomy day after facing a new kind of harassment, she decides to buy her own scooter and challenges norms in pursuit of freedom and respect in a patriarchal society.
Date and location: 3.30-4.30 p.m. 25 February 2023, Auditorium, Sangeet O Nrittyakala

  • Film: Rising Silence
    The documentary ‘Rising Silence’ is a journey of relationships between women dealing with war, violence, and daily prejudice to heal and create a future with unconditional love. The relevance of this internationally acclaimed documentary is apparent as women continue to bear the brunt of sexual violence in armed conflicts to this day.
    Date and location: 5-6.45 p.m., 25 February 2023, Auditorium, Sangeet O Nrittyakala


  • How to avoid toxic parenting?
    Curator: Cotake
    Facilitator: Nishat Sultana Purobi, Advocacy and Justice for children, World Vision.
    Excessive discipline or improper indulgence by parents towards children can sometimes cause harm. In many cases, parents make mistakes without realising their impact. This is called toxic parenting. In the long run, this can cause mental problems for children. By good parenting we can avoid these problems.  
    Date and location: 3.30-4.30 p.m., 24 and 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • How to be aware of Breast Cancer?
    Curator: CCD Bangladesh
    Facilitator: Dr. Ali Nafisa Tondra, Associate Professor, Surgery and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon 
    Women are most at risk of breast and cervical cancer. But it is possible to reduce the risk by spreading awareness. The symptoms of infection and how to examine one's own body at home will be taught in the workshop. 
    Date and location: 5-6 p.m.,24 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • How to access information about your property rights? 
    Curator: Bonhishikha – unlearn gender
    Facilitator: Nadia Choudhury, Co-facilitator: Mamun Rashid, Tasaffy Hossain
    Workshop participants will learn the legal and social aspects to access information on property rights. As a result, they will be encouraged to establish equal rights.
    Date and location: 12-1 p.m., 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • How to promote healthy aging: Stroke Awareness
    Facilitated by: Home and Community Care Ltd. (a concern of Sajida Foundation)
    Health risks increase with age. Stroke risk increases due to lifestyle and food habits. This workshop will teach participants how to reduce the risk of stroke, what to do in an emergency, and how to care for stroke patients.
    Date and location: 3.30-4.30 p.m., 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)

WOW Marketplace

This year’s festival will be bringing on 20+ creative female entrepreneurs from all around Bangladesh. With ethnic wear from local artisans, deshi-made clothing, jewellery, indigenous apparel, homemade food and social awareness raising organisations focusing on mental health and activism to combat sexual abuse of children - WOW Marketplace truly will be an inclusive platform to showcase our indomitable entrepreneurs and their meaningful work! 

Date and location: 12-7 p.m., 24 and 25 February 2023, Main Field

Panel Discussions

  • Beauty is the Beast
    Moderator: Nahin idris, Head of Arts, British Council Bangladesh.
    Panelists: Azmeri Haque Badhon, Krishnendu Chattopadhyay , Elizabeth D. Costa , Sharmin Rahman.
    In our society, merit is often measured by skin colour. A thought-provoking panel discussion exploring the impacts of colourism, bias on fair-skinned actresses and models in showbiz, particularly in television and cinema.
    Date and location: 3.40-4.40 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Baccha Nao Thik Hoye Jabe (বাচ্চা নাও ঠিক হয় যাবে)
    Moderator: Sharmin Shams, Publisher & Editor at Feminist Factor
    Panelists: Shahana Huda Ranjana, Advocate Nahid Shams, Afroja Shoma 
    In our society, women are blamed for ‘breaking the family’ and divorce is seen as socially dishonorable. Despite suffering from gender-based violence, many women continue to maintain a family for the sake of their children, society or their own future. In order to maintain their families, social advice is to “Have a child, everything will be fine!”, but is it? The panel explores how such disrespectful relationships can have long-term consequences for children.
    Date and location: 5-5.50 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Ami Tomari Matir Konna (আমি তোমারই মাটির কন্যা)
    Moderator: Tahmina Tasneem Khanam 
    Panelists: Dr Samiya Selim , Rubina Jahan, Jahurul Islam
    Women and girls are mostly affected by the impact of climate change. The discussion will be based on how the impacts on mental health arising from climate vulnerabilities both in urban and rural areas. And will try to find a solution. 
    Date and location: 12.15-1 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Joto Dosh Narir Kaporer (যত দোষ নারীর কাপড়ের)
    Moderator: Udisa Islam, Chief reporter, Bangla Tribune
    Panelists: Advocate Sanaiyya Ansari , Zahidul Islam Sana, Nazneen Munni, Ishrat Payel
    In this society if a woman is harassed, society blames her for her outfit. But legally and even from a religious point of view, nobody can harass anyone for their dress. The purpose of the discussion will be to understand social perceptions and moral policing based on clothing and to explore solutions. 
    Date and location: 2.45-3.45 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage
  • Naribadi Na Neribadi (নারীবাদী না নেড়িবাদী)
    Curator: Bonhishikha – unlearn gender
    Moderator: Syeda Samara Mortada, Partner Coordinator, Bonhishikha
    Panelists: Sudeshna Biswas, Nidhi Chakma, Tasnuva Ahmed 
    In our society some people have a misconception about feminism, even some call it misandrist. Join the conversation to learn about these stereotypes and their critiques and explore the perception of feminism in wider communities. 
    Date and location: 4.15-5.15 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage

WOW One on One

WOW Bangladesh’s One on One sessions aim to have leading women from different industries/sectors talk about their creative selves, work as well as about their lived experiences as women in their field. They share personal experiences of struggles and compromises they faced during their journey and how they tackle gender stereotypes, gender biases while working in their respective fields.

  • Rubaba Dowla (Country Managing Director at Oracle Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan) and Domino Pateman (Director of Festivals and Programmes, The WOW Foundation)
    Date and location: 6.20-6.45 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Nadia Ali (English TV and Radio Presenter) and Shuprova Tasneem (Journalist) 
    Date and location: 4.30-5 p.m., 25 February 2023, Nandan Mancho 

Physical Activity

Yoga for Stress Relief

Curated by: CCD Bangladesh 
Instructor: S S Sultana Elora (Yoga Teacher & Evaluator, Coordinator, Health Care Program, Harmony Trust) 

Yoga promotes mental and physical relaxation. It reduces and prevents stress. Participants will be shown some yoga poses to relieve stress by a female instructor from Harmony Trust. In addition, their family members and friends will be aware of this. 

Date and location: 4-4.30 p.m. on 24 February and 1-1.30 p.m. and 4-4.30 p.m. on 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Plaza (Level 1)

Under 10s Feminist Corner

  • The Secret Lives of Alphabets
    Facilitator/Curator: Fouzia Mahin Choudhury
    Co-Facilitators: Cartoon People (crew)
    Music: Khayam Sanu Sandhi
    This interactive workshop with children around 5-8 years old will explore themes of women of strength. They will draw different letters using the alphabet structure and make interesting stories and rhymes about the inspirational women in their lives. A musician will then tune it and sing along with them.
    Date and location: 3.30-5 p.m., 24 and 25 February 2023, Chitrashala (Entrance of Gallery 1) 
  • Elephant in the Room
    Curation/Script/Direction: Leesa Gazi (Komola Collective)
    Facilitator: Professor Dr. Basana Rani Muhuri, President, Nishpap Autism Foundation, Chattogram 
    Co- Facilitators: Kamrunnahar Munni , Mugdhota Morshed Wriddhi 
    It is a participatory storytelling workshop about understanding disability and different communities where some story situations will be explored with children and they will be asked to imagine what might happen next. In this workshop, participants will gain a better understanding of the lives of children with disabilities in our society.
    Date and location: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., 25 February 2023, Chitrashala (Entrance of Gallery 1)

WOW Bites

  • Zakia Bari Momo: Renowned model, Award-winning Actress and Winner of Lux Channel I Superstar (2006) and a proud single mother, Zakia Bari Momo will be speaking at WOW Bites based on the theme ‘Women are stronger than you think’.
  • Manisha Meem Nipun: The co-founder of Pathchola Foundation, is a social justice and youth advocate representing trans communities in Bangladesh. 
  • Mushfika Laiju: Musfika is a development worker by profession and a feminist and human rights activist by passion. 
  • Sharmin Sultana Sumi: Youth icon Sharmin Sultana Sumi is the Founder, Lyricist, Composer and Vocalist of the globally celebrated Bangladeshi band, ‘Chirkutt’.
  • Azmeri Haque Badhon: Badhon is an internationally acclaimed actress, model, feminist and a single mother. 
  • Shipra Debnath: Shipra Debnath is a full-fledged Human Rights Defender, writer and filmmaker.
  • Jamila Begum: Breaking all gender stereotypes and social norms, Jamila Begum is the first female butcher in Birganj, Dinajpur. 
  • Munjarin Mahbub Abony: Model, engineer, student, social worker, dancer, and above all, a mother of a beautiful daughter, Munjarin Mahbub Abony is best known for winning ‘Mrs World Bangladesh 2019’. 
  • Nazrul Islam Ritu: Ritu is Bangladesh's first transgender Chairperson elected by the people in Trilochanpur, Jhenaidah. Ritu became a well-known figure in Trilochanpur after participating in various charitable works. 
  • Sarah Marandy: Coming from the Santal community of the northwest Birampur Upazila in Dinajpur District, Sarah Marandy is an indigenous rights activist and the Founder and Director of ‘SwarnoBhumi Unnayon Sangstha’. 
  • Humaira Azam: Humaira is the first female CEO of a commercial bank in Bangladesh. 
  • Geeta Rani Kanu: She is the President and convener of Bangladesh Tea Workers Women's Forum. 
  • Tina Jabeen: The first Managing Director and Chief Executive of Startup Bangladesh Limited, ICT Division, Tina Jabeen also serves as the Director of Bangladesh Women Investors Network.
  • Awhona Rahman: Awhona is the first champion of Bangladesh's first female bodybuilding championship at the age of 19. 

Date and location: 5 - 5:50pm, 24 February 2023, Nandan Mancho

12.30-1.10 p.m., 3-3.30 p.m., 5:05-5.45 p.m., 25 February 2023, Nandan Mancho

Speed Mentoring

WOW audiences meet remarkable mentors who will guide and inspire. Mentors from diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise share their experiences, wisdom to support personal and professional growth. Themes for this festival are Women in Business, Women in Culinary Arts, Women in Government Service, Women in Digital Content-making and Women in Sports. 

Date and location: 

24 February 2023, Chitrashala Plaza (Level 1)

  • 3.30-4.30 p.m.: Women in Business
  • 4.30-5.30 p.m.:Women in Culinary Arts
  • 5.30-6.30 p.m.: Women in Govt. Job Service

25 February 2023, Chitrashala Plaza (Level 1)

  • 11-12 p.m.: Women in Development Sector
  • 12-1 p.m.: Women in Mountaineering
  • 4-5 p.m.: Women in Digital Content Making
  • 5-6 p.m.: Women in Sports/ Athlete


  • Dance: Cultural performances by indigenous communities across Bangladesh 
    Experience amazing performances like Baisavi and bamboo dance by the Bom community; Umbrella dance by the Marma community, and Tripura dance. 
    Date and location: 6.05-6.15 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Dance: Cultural performances by indigenous communities across Bangladesh 
    Experience amazing performances like Rakhain lamp dance and dance of unity. 
    Date and location: 4.45-4.55 p.m., 24 February 2023, Nandan Mancho
  • Dance: Ridy Sheikh and group
    International dance sensation and influencer Ridy will bring an electrifying performance to the WOW stage. 
    Date and location: 6.50-7 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage
  • Music: Tosiba Begum 
    Viral youth sensation brings fun and melodious tunes to the WOW stage. 
    Date and location: 7.20-8 p.m., 24 February 2023, Main Stage 
  • Music: Harmony of Hills and Plain
    Curated by Native Roots, a soulful collaboration of Mahajani Padas of the plainlands with the folk verses of Marma indigenous community ‘Chagayang’ will be presented. Musical instruments such as bung-pait, hne, paitalak, cheh, baya, ektara etc. will accompany the artistes' voices.
    Date and location: 12-12.10 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage
  • Music: Masha Islam 
    Rising star and internet sensation Masha brings her gifted voices to WOW audiences. 
    Date and location: 3.30-4.15 p.m., 25 February 2023, Nandan Mancho
  • Dance: Cultural performances by indigenous communities across Bangladesh
    Experience amazing performances like Monipuri dance by Jyoti Nandan. 
    Curator: Mongol Deep Foundation

Date and location: 12.15-12.30 p.m., 25 February 2023, Nandan Mancho

  • Theatre Play: Naior 
    Curator: Prachyanat
    Written by Jaganmoy Paul and Directed by Kazi Toufikul Islam Emon, this play portrays the story behind the circumstances of women migrant workers. The main theme of the performance is to bring about the issue of illegal migration of women in the middle-east and raise voice to the mass against the gender based violation of the women migrant workers all over the world. 
    Date and location: 5.15-5.55 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage
  • Theatre Play: Swarnaboal
    Directed by: Sudip Chakroborthy
    Legendary playwright Selim Al Deen’s masterpiece ‘SwarnaBoal’ will be recreated on stage by Director Sudip Chakroborthy. By weaving the story of Teerman - a fisherman’s son devoted to the love of Shanjhmala, a single-voiced woman who is deeply affectionate towards the golden fish - this play depicts the ultimate truth - “Winning or losing is nothing. You neither need to win, nor lose, if you have the devotion”. This disability arts production is a part of British Council’s projects DARE (Disability Arts: Redefining Empowerment) and WOW- Women of the World festivals.  
    Date and location: 7-9 p.m., 24 and 25 February 2023, Natyashala, Experimental Theatre Hall

Art Installation and Exhibitions

  • Made in Bangladesh
    Description: The story of a ready-made garment worker's life changed by the factory building collapse and the aftermath will be re-created through performing arts.
    Concept, Direction and Performance: Prachyanat
    Time and location: 4.45-5.15 p.m. and 3-7 p.m. on 24 February and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • Voices of Bangladesh 
    By: iCan Foundation
    Stories of indigenous communities, female freedom fighters and eye-witnesses of the Liberation war of Bangladesh. Initiated by iCan Foundation, the project was originally organised by the US Embassy in Dhaka and Curated by Bengal Foundation. 
    Time and location: 3-8 p.m. on 24 February and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • Moheshkhali Exhibition
    By: University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) and Hum Studio Interactive 
    Stitching stories of displacement and reconciliation through photographs, film, visuals and text. 
    Time and location: 3-8 p.m. on 24 February and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)
  • অযোনি (Auyoni): Beyond Sexuality 
    By: Ayreen Khan
    This painting installation highlights the journey of a woman who wants to set her Self free from social taboo and achieve Moksha, liberation from the cycle of Karma. It is a constant work of surrender; surrendering to the nature, letting go of the emotions. The journey of becoming is a lonesome expedition. 
    Time and location: 3-8 p.m. on 24 February and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on 25 February 2023, Chitrashala Gallery 1 (Level 1)


  • Khiyo, English fusion band of British and Bengali descent will bring radical and fresh interpretation of songs from the Bengali tradition and draw from rock, folk, and Indian and Western classical music. The band was formed as a collaboration between third-generation British-Bangladeshi vocalist Sohini Alam and composer Oliver Weeks to explore new ways of presenting traditional Bengali music whilst preserving its essence.
    Date and location: 6.30-7.10 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage 

  • Chirkutt is a Bangla Folk/Rock band who perform acoustic and electric folk music and is one of the only female-fronted fusion-driven rock bands of Bangladesh. Formed by Sharmin Sultana Sumi, Chirkutt enjoys an active international presence, and has carved out a solid reputation in the music scene of Bangladesh with their energetic live performances and powerful lyrics and will electrify the stage at WOW Bangladesh 2023!.

Date and location: 7.20-8 p.m., 25 February 2023, Main Stage

The festival will be held on 24 and 25 February 2023 at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Segunbagicha, Dhaka. Festival curators include Komola Collective (UK), COTAKE Bangladesh, Prachyanat, Bonhishikha – unlearn gender, Swayong, Creative Pathways, Asifuzzaman Khan and Fouzia Mahin Chowdhury. InterContinental Dhaka will be the Hospitality Partner for this event.