WOW - Women of the World Festival aims to support women and girls by highlighting the challenges they face the solutions they can find together.

Through the partnership between the WOW - Women of the World Foundation and the British Council and with the support of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the festival was organized face to face for the first time in Istanbul. WOW festivals globally have already reached more than three million people in six continents and in over 30 locations, and following its digital edition in 2020, WOW İstanbul took place at Müze Gazhane, Istanbul’s new cultural heritage and creativity hub, on 19-20 March with participation of 3,500 guests.

Bringing together the arts and culture world and civil society to develop new dialogues and collaborations, the festival offered a unique platform, where women from different backgrounds shared their stories and voices via music, performance, talks and workshops. The input of 40 artists from the UK and Türkiye, 40 NGOs and more than 150 civil society and creative professionals as well as students influenced the festival programming.

Taking inspiration from artists, speakers, workshop leaders and non-governmental organizations, from the UK and Turkey, WOW Istanbul has offered a safe, and inclusive platform for sharing of cultural and creative expressions with belief in change and the equality of women who say #WeAreTogether to inspire each other.

Organized by Pozitif, the WOW Istanbul Festival continued to pursue its objective to be more inclusive for all through the support of the consultancy of Erişilebilir Her Şey (Accessible Everything). The festival accomodated Turkish sign language interpretation, as well as simultaneous Turkish and English interpretation for all events, access features for blind and visually impaired guests and wheelchair users. The evaluation showed that 11 per cent of the festival audiences identified as disabled. 

British Council Head of Arts Esra A. Aysun as the WOW Istanbul Turkey Curator lead the festival programming with support of festival’s advisory board members Asena Günal (Anadolu Kültür), Figen Ayhan Karakelle (İBB Cultural Department Directorate), Gamze Sofuoğlu (Turkcell), Nurcan Baysal, Özlem Ece (İKSV), Rümeysa Çamdereli (Havle), Ülker Uncu (BGST) and Zelal Yalçın (İBB Social Policy Centre). British Council’s Wider Europe Equality Diversity And Inclusion Lead Su Başbuğu, has overseen the accessibility of the festival.