IPI MENA and the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) noted the necessity of women’s participation to achieve sustainable development and social peace in Manama on January 13th. In a meeting with representatives of SCW and John Hopkins University Graduates, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji stressed the importance of the achievements of Bahraini women and called for additional efforts to realize the aspirations of Bahraini women and the objectives of the Supreme Council for Women to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dalya Al Alawi, IPI MENA Program Assistant, emphasized IPI’s research on women’s inclusivity, stating that women’s participation and involvement across all levels of constitution and policy-making is a clear indicator of effective, durable and lasting peace.
Highlighting women’s progress in the region through their expanding participation across political, economic and social sectors of society, she stressed the receptiveness and willingness demonstrated by governments in the region towards upholding women’s rights, such as through initiatives like Bahrain’s National Plan for the Advancement of Bahraini Women, and the active dynamism demonstrated by Bahraini women. She underlined the rapidly increasing percentage of female graduates and the subsequent growth of women working in the public sector as a prime example.
The question and answer session took place between IPI; SCW Representatives Ranya Ahmed Aljurf, Director of Gender Balance Center and Amina Al-Haddad, Head of Equal Opportunities from the Legislature and Civil Society Department; and John Hopkins University Graduates Ben Nussbaumer, Devan Kerley, Ao Yin, and Dania Abdalla. Participants discussed the importance of gender equality as a factor for regional integration, the key role religious education can play in mainstreaming women’s participation, and the role women played during the Arab Spring.
“There is no regional integration without social integration,” stated Nejib Friji, stressing that integration is the work of society at the grassroots level and cannot take place without the involvement of 50% of society.
He reiterated the necessity of incorporating women throughout all sectors of society, and compared countries that invested in women with those that did not, and how they fared better during the instability.
Pointing to Tunisia and Yemen as prime examples, he compared the crucial role Tunisian women played in steering the country away from the brink of collapse to Yemen’s lack of investment in women and the tragic result of the civil war. “Where women were not involved, it was a disaster,” he stated.
Nejib Frji concluded the meeting by reiterating IPI’s strong commitment and readiness to cooperate and engage in further exchanges with the Supreme Council of Women, civil society, and Parliament on women issues and empowerment.