Women’s Day festival highlights gender equality

The third WOW Festival gathered Cardiff residents to celebrate International Women’s Day 

Audiences' suggestions on the next Women of the World Festival
Audiences’ suggestions on the next Women of the World Festival

Women of the World Festival 2016 was held on 5 March in Wales Millennium Centre at Cardiff bay to celebrate the annual International Women’s Day.

This one-day festival includes events like guest talks, performances, art workshops and a market place for visitors and participants to enjoy the day.

It aims at celebrating the International Women’s Day by highlighting the achievements of women across the world during the past few decades. Meanwhile, it reminds Cardiff of the obstacles that may stop women and girls from achieving their potential.

Performance at this year's WOW Festival
Performance at this year’s WOW Festival

Uzo Iwobi, the Chief Executive of Race Council Cymru, who hosts a speed mentoring session encouraging audiences to share their stories with each other, said: “I think the great thing today, is to celebrate the power of the women, to inspire the younger generation, and to encourage them, to say, ‘look, how far we’ve come, how hard it has been for us to look where we are’.”

The wall in Wales Millennium centre celebrating Women's day
The wall in Wales Millennium centre celebrating Women’s day

But she also acknowledged that there are still many issues that women are currently facing with.

“From my own work experience talking to people from diverse & minority communities, it is their cultural challenges and barriers that cause influences, because in some cultures, not necessarily here in the UK, women are expected to be subservient to men,” Mrs. Uzo Iwobi explained. “You can be a chief executive in your organization. But when you come back to your house, the attitude of the partner can be quite different.”

BAWSO, an organization providing services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and children who experience domestic violence, reported that the rate of domestic violence in Wales is really high and is still increasing.

There were totally 5292 people who used the organization’s help service, compared to 4613 users in 2014 and 3370 users in 2013.

Fosia Dirir, staff of BAWSO, explained: “Actually domestic violence has always been there, because it is too typical. And more importantly, people don’t want to talk about it.”

International Women's Day

Besides domestic violence, there are other problems on jobs and work for women in daily life. Women’s Equality Network Wales mentions ‘unpaid care’ as a typical example: “No matter the level of education, culture or place we live, almost all women will be carers at some point in their lives. And our members have told us how this has impacted their health and risks driving them into poverty.”

International Women's Day

Watch the video of Uzo Iwobi’s opinion about being confident as a woman: