Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway concluded the first ever edition of Wempower, on 8th March, celebrated as International Women’s Day. Against the backdrop of rising crimes against women, with statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau India, reporting an increase in the rates, escalating 6.4% during 2012. Wempower sought to address a multitude of issues pertinent to modern day feminism, such as women’s safety, single parenting, moral policing, female stereotypes and reclaiming individual identity With Women’s Day mostly reduced to mere tokenism, amidst a bevy of discount vouchers and bumper sales, Wempower – the women’s day festival aimed to reflect on celebrating acts of grit and courage by real life trailblazers from diverse domains who have dared to challenge and change the script and transform feminism into a more gender neutral and inclusively sustainable dialogue.
Acclaimed journalist, columnist on gender and sexuality and best-selling, feminist author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu was the curator of this festival. ‘The game changer in this festival were real life crusaders who walked their talk and not just so-called, Page three celebrities who are on magazine covers. The thrust of Wempower lay on its strong speakers. Explosive themes. Inspiring performances. And our belief that the fight of feminism is a human rights struggle,’ added Kundu.
The festival begun with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp ceremony accompanied by rousing key note speeches by Roopa D, the first lady Kannadiga IPS officer, currently serving as Inspector General of Police in Bengaluru, All India Mahila Congress, General-Secretary, celebrated journalist and transgender and child rights activist, Apsara Reddy and Sruthi Hariharan, leading Kannada film actress and producer, also the proud recipient of several accolades, including, the Karnataka State Film Award, three Filmfare Awards (South), a SIIMA award, and, a special mention at the 66th National film awards for her performance in Nathicharami.
Joining them on stage was Pavitra Shankar, Executive Director, Brigade Group. “From the very onset, we had a concrete vision of what we wanted this festival to be. The focus was placed on breaking the mould and scripting a different narrative. Conversations included all genders to bring about quantitative as well as qualitative changes and thought leadership. Using our influence as a leading brand that supports and values our female employees, we aspired that this festival become a platform and a convergence point for those who believe in equality, fairness and kindness for all,” added Shankar.
This was followed by an evocative dance performance by STEM (Space.Time.Energy. Movement) Dance Kampni, the performing wing of Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, helmed by Indian classical, contemporary dancer and choreographer, Madhu Nataraj.