Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Women (SCW), Hala Al Ansari, has highlighted Bahrain’s strides in women advancement during an open meeting, organised by USbased Women’s Foreign Policy Group at the National Museum of Women in the Arts here.
Addressing the meeting, attended HH Shaikha Nayla bint Hamad bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ambassador to US, Shaikh Abdulla bin Rashid Al Khalifa and officials from the two countries, Ms Al Ansari affirmed that the Kingdom has made giant qualitative leaps in consolidating women’s presence and participation in various fields over the past two decades, under the Reform Project spearheaded by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The royal Reform Project has placed Bahrain among the developed countries in the fields of constitutional democracy and human rights respect, increased growth rates and activated the potentials of all social segments, including youth and women, she said. Ms Al Ansari pointed out that the women advancement efforts exerted over the past two decades have yielded fruitful results, as proved by many international indicators and the success of a Bahraini woman to become a Speaker of the Council of Representative through direct vote, thus becoming the first woman to attain this exploit which reflects the Bahraini society’s civilisation and openness.
The multiple Bahraini women’s landmark achievements are the fruitful outcome of the Kingdom’s civilisational progress for thousands of years in which women played a major role. She noted that Bahraini women’s educational process began as early as 1899, and then the first government’s school for girls was established in 1928, and women were granted the right to vote in 1924. In the 1930s, women began studying abroad, and in the 1950s, they started establishing their own NGOs.
After that, women proved their distinction in many fields, such as medicine, engineering, military work and many others. She also highlighted the SCW’s effective participation in drafting the National Action Charter and the 2002 Constitution which, she said, guaranteed equality among the citizens, protected freedoms, granted women the right to run as candidates in elections, determined the role of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches and consolidated the cultures of human rights, dialogue, co-existence, tolerance and acceptance of the other.
While reviewing the march of SCW, Ms Al Ansari said that it was established as per a Royal Decree in 2001, as a consultative council which is affiliated with HM the King and presided over by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of HM the King, noting that the Royal Decree also stipulated the appointment of a SCW’s secretary-general with a ministerial rank, thus becoming the first woman minister in the Arabian Gulf region. She stressed that Bahrain’s milestone achievements in the field of women advancement is a source of pride not only for the Kingdom, but also for its brotherly, friendly and allied countries.
During the open-meeting, moderated by retiring general and the first US Assistant Secretary of Defence, Mary Beth Long, Ms Al Ansari answered questions about Bahrain’s experience in supporting women. A documentary film on Bahrain and the SCW’s experience, including the main indicators of women’s advancement in the Kingdom, was also screened. The attendees expressed admiration for Bahrain’s experience in all fields of women advancement, praising the Bahraini women’s pioneering achievements, and the key role played by the SCW in this regard.