Karachi’s first-ever Women of the World conference raises the bar for other fests
It was the first time that a city from any South Asian country was hosting the famed ‘Women of the World’ event organised by the British Council Pakistan and Southbank Centre, London.
Apart from a stellar array of women who took part in panel discussions and mentoring sessions speaking on the plight of women in Pakistan and the rest of the world, there was a wide variety of programmes, ranging from musical gigs to food stalls to the areas where artworks were displayed, that had the visitors take a keen interest in the festival.
ude Kelly, the founder of the festival, speaking on the occasion stressed the need for sharing experiences. She said WOW Karachi was a powerful addition to an international movement. “We hope to build upon its success as we aspire to achieve gender equality across the globe,” she said.
British Council Pakistan’s director of programmes Jim Booth said the aim of bringing WOW to Pakistan was to create conversations on the role of women and girls in the country in relation to such issues as social inclusion, education and health.
Taking part in a panel discussion, director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan I. A. Rehman said the government did not pay attention to the well-being of women.
Among the many distinguished women who were at the hotel to interact with their admirers was human rights activist Mukhtar Mai. Other personalities at the event included founder of Women’s Action Forum Nighat Saeed Khan, politician Kishwer Zehra, poet Attiya Dawood, writer Ghausia Salam, anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali and comedian Shaista Aziz. According to the organisers, more than 9,000 people, representing a cross-section of society, attended the festival.
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