WOW Bangladesh returns for 2023

9 Feb 2023

Blog Post

WOW Bangladesh Festival will return to Dhaka this month, for two days of talks, performance, workshops and more at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on 24 and 25 February 2023. The popular national festival is organised by the British Council, Mongol Deep Foundation and CCD Bangladesh, in partnership with UK charity The WOW Foundation.

The two-day event will be inaugurated by Hon'ble Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament, Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, and include performances by indigenous communities from Chattogram and Sylhet. There will be thought-provoking panel discussions exploring the impacts of colourism, and the perception of feminism in wider communities where notable panellists like leading actress Azmeri Haque Badhon and activist Shireen Huq will participate.

To enlighten children on gender equality, there will be interactive fun workshops exploring themes of women of strength and understanding different communities. Attendees will also have opportunities of in-person WOW Speed Mentoring sessions conducted by experts from many fields. The festival will also feature a vibrant WOW Marketplace supporting local women entrepreneurs and raising awareness of gender issues. Additionally, festivalgoers will experience exhibitions, musical performances, film screenings, performance art, and a disability arts theatre production SwarnaBoal directed by Sudip Chakroborthy, where legendary thespian Asaduzzaman Noor will also perform. The event will end with a concert by rock band Chirkutt.

Speaking about the festival, Ifra Iqbal, Cultural Engagement Programme Manager, the British Council, said: “WOW - Women of the World is an important platform in advancing our work with supporting women and girls under our Arts portfolio in South Asia. We believe that achieving gender equality is crucial in creating an inclusive, open and prosperous society and arts has a strong role to play in it.”

“We are delighted to see WOW Festival becoming a soulful gathering of culture and celebration of womanhood. It advocates to create access and opportunity for women and girls around the world and build their skills and confidence to achieve their potential and have more influence over decisions that positively impact their lives", commented Sara Zaker, Founding Chairperson, Mongol Deep Foundation.

WOW Festivals were initiated in Bangladesh through divisional Chapters from 2017 in Chattogram, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Sylhet, leading to a national festival in Dhaka in 2019 and as a response to the pandemic, the festivals also moved online and expanded to represent women's voices from more divisional cities through WOW Virtual Bangladesh Festivals. Since its initiation in Bangladesh, the festivals have collectively reached over 50,000+ festival audiences. Find out more here.