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6 Dec

Why Pakistan needs the WoW Festival

WoW Festival

The aptly named Women of the World (WoW) Festival returned to Pakistan for a second time. Held at one of the most happening cultural hubs of Karachi, Alliance Française, the WoW Festival 2017 brought many determined men and women together who are trying to combat the problems that affect women in our country.

The entire venue was utilized for the festival, with each area dedicated to a separate cause. For instance, the main stage would be holding a speaker’s session while the courtyard would be facilitating a different workshop. Female professionals from various walks of life attended the festival , both as guests and participants and the different segments catered to the various needs of the modern Pakistani woman. There were live demonstrations from the boxing girls from Lyari taking place in the garden, which were meant to showcase the skills of the girls from the Lyari Boxing Girls Club as well as to teach self defence lessons to other young girls and women. For those with a shopping addiction, there were several stalls displaying traditional and handmade goods such as wallets, bedsheets and cutlery on display.

The two-day festival wasn’t short on star power either. The team of Parchi attended the event to promote their film. Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan and Usman Mukhtar were seen interacting with the crowd, attending speaker sessions and speaking to their fans at the FM91 radio booth. While every film has the odd morning show (or 10) to attend for promotions, we are glad that Parchi chose a platform like the WoW Festival for their promotional tour in Karachi.

 

 

Even the legendary Hadiqa Kiani took the stage for the finale performance on the second day.

 

 

The real reason behind WoW Festival’s success in Pakistan is because every year, it starts conversations which women, and men in Pakistan are in dire need of. At a time where violence against women is at an all time high, empowered women come together and give guidance and hope to others who’re struggling. For instance, also present at the festival was women’s rights activist Mukhtaran Mai who took the stage to talk about how she continues to struggle to provide education to young girls in her village. “Waderas don’t like me,” she laughed, “because I challenge their notions.” Mai not only spoke about the need for young girls to be educated, but stressed on the importance of educating our boys too. “Boys need it just as much because they also need to know what is right and what is wrong.” That is actually valuable advice because men also need to part of this conversation.

All in all, the all-encompassing festival came to an end on Sunday. Having attended both festivals that have taken place in Pakistan in the last two years, we eagerly look forward to the next one.

Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.