The 7th edition of the WOW – Women of the World Festival comes to a close in Lahore

Web DeskMarch 4, 202418711 min
The 7th edition of the WOW - Women of the World Festival comes to a close in Lahore

Lahore, 04 March 2024 – The 7th edition of the British Council’s WOW – Women of the World Festival in collaboration with Standard Chartered, Shan Foods, UNFPA, ECDI Pakistan and Olomopolo Media concluded on Sunday, 3 March 2024 at the Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore. The two-day festival which was free and open to the public had an attendance of over X people.

This was the first WOW festival held in Lahore after successive festivals in Karachi and gatherings in Hunza.

The opening speech at the festival was by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Jane Marriott with a closing speech by the Deputy Chief Executive of the British Council, Kate Ewart-Biggs. The event was also attended by the Chair of the British Council, Dr Paul Thompson.  The programme for the WOW festival included one-of-a-kind panels, workshops, film screenings, immersive performances, vibrant marketplaces, and puppet shows and films for children. There was an exciting line-up of performances including from popular music artists Natasha Noorani and Eva B. The closing performance at the festival was from an ensemble of artists including Amna Riaz, Romaisa Tariq, Annural Khalid and Natasha Baig featuring Hassan and Roshan.

British High Commissioner, Jane Marriott CMG OBE, said: “This year’s Wow festival continues to push boundaries, both tackling the big gender issues of the day and expanding to Lahore. As the rights of women across the world come under assault, it has been inspiring to hear from so many of those on the front line of defending them. Women – and men – need to work together to make this the sort of world in which we all want to live.”

Kate Ewart-Biggs, the Deputy Chief Executive of the British Council said: “We know that no nation can truly succeed without its women and girls contributing fully and freely. That’s why our support for the WOW Festival in Pakistan is so important. The first WOW festival in South Asia took place in Pakistan eight years ago, and it has taken centre stage ever since. The barriers seem to get higher and the glass harder, but I know that there are countless examples of inspirational and powerful women from Pakistan who continue to lead and show us the way.”

Dr Paul Thompson, Chair of the British Council, said: “I was delighted to witness the first WOW festival ever held in Lahore and the enthusiasm and passion of the participants and audience. Women and girls empowerment is at the heart of our work and this festival is one of the many ways we do that in Pakistan.”

Presented in partnership with the WOW Foundation, the theme for the festival this year was Sakhiyan (Friends), an ode to friendship between women. The theme was explored through multiple topics including mental health, climate change, education, women in public spaces, the digital divide, power and patriarchy and disability.

For more information please visit:

Instagram: @wow.pakistan @britishcouncilpakistan @olomopolo @ecdipakistan

Facebook: @womenoftheworldfestival

About WOW Pakistan 2024

The programme for WOW in 2024 was developed by curating partners and informed by a planning session held earlier in which a diverse group of people belonging to civil society, women’s rights organisations, disability led organisations, legal community, academics, artists, transgender community leaders, teachers and educators came together to discuss who and what they would like to see at the WOW Festival.

WOW – Women of the World is a global movement of festivals that celebrate the achievements of women and girls and look at some of the obstacles they face across the world.

About The WOW Foundation

The WOW Foundation was created by Jude Kelly CBE in 2018 to run the global movement that is WOW – Women of the World Festivals. The Festivals began in the UK in 2010, launched by Kelly at the Southbank Centre London, where she was Artistic Director, to celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face, and discussing solutions together.

To date, WOW has reached five million people in 45 locations on six continents, in locations including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA.

Over the last 13 years the Festivals have developed a reputation as a space for world renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers including Angela Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Salma Hayek, to come and participate, alongside thousands of women and girls who don’t have public profiles but are doing amazing things. WOW provides platforms for people of all kinds, changes attitudes, brings communities together and provides a unique space for people to work together towards gender equity in their own communities. One example of the Festival’s impact came in 2015, with the founding of the Women’s Equality Party by Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer.

In 2018 Kelly left the Southbank Centre to run The WOW Foundation full time as a charity working to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is possible and desirable through festivals and empowering women and girls. The unique festival model creates numerous pathways for participants to take part in WOW projects, amplify their own causes, or start new initiatives which have a wide impact on communities. It is the biggest, most comprehensive and most significant festival dedicated to presenting work by women and promoting equity for women and girls.

WOW Festival was originally produced and presented by Southbank Centre.

The President of WOW – Women of the World is Her Majesty The Queen.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. For more information: www.britishcouncil.pk

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