Bahraini Women to Establish Union
Inspired by the democratic reforms in the kingdom, women in Bahrain are due to soon establish their new union to serve as "an umbrella organization for all women's associations in the island to tackle all political, social and economic, and other issues related to women", Mariam Al Ruwai'ee, member of the Bahrain Young Ladies Association (BYLA), told Gulf News on Saturday.
She stated that the women's associations in the country would run a series of workshops for women who are considering running as candidates in the upcoming municipal elections.
"The new Bahrain Women's Union (BWU) received the initial approval for its formation from Labor and Social Affairs Minister three months ago”.
"The union's draft constitution has been submitted to the ministry's legal affairs department for final review and approval. We are awaiting now for the final and official approval from the department," Mariam told the paper.
Mariam, who chairs the proposed union's preparatory committee comprising of 32 members representing all women's societies throughout Bahrain, said that once it is approved, the union will hold its first meeting to elect its board.
"All women societies in Bahrain as well as the training and vocational societies can become members of the union," she said.
The union is aimed at encouraging women's involvement in politics and improving their social, economic and educational status.
"It will also unify the efforts made by different women societies. For instance, instead of having each society discussing issues and concerns related to women individually, the union members will try to review and find solutions for them together".
She hopes to get the final approval before May 9, when the municipal elections are scheduled to take place. "It would be a great help for women candidates and even for voters of both sexes," she said.
Several associations are planning to form electoral workshops for women voters and would-be candidates, and hold seminars all over the country. "In the Young Ladies Association, we have already started," said Mariam.
"The union will also play an important role in coordinating women's societies programs and projects. It will help unify and strengthen the efforts to tackle social, political, economic and legal issues," she conveyed.
"It will be a dream come true for all the women's societies. We have been waiting for this for a long time."
Bahraini women, explained Mariam, have been involved in social work for the past 5 decades and many of the pioneers in this field will be involved in the union.
"We have leading women in this field who would definitely be a great help and asset in the proposed union."
"We have unlimited ambitions and we are determined to fulfil them," she replied when asked about the new constitutional changes in which women got for the first time the right to fully participate in elections.
"In every stage, we have new goals. Currently, we are working for the overall advancement of the woman not as a woman, but as a citizen with equal rights and duties," Mariam expressed.
"One of the major issues we have to raise is unemployment. Women in Bahrain represent the biggest segment affected by this problem in our society, and we are going to coordinate our efforts with all ministries and non-governmental bodies to tackle this problem," she said.
Meanwhile, the government's Supreme Council for Women announced on Saturday that special workshops would be held for women who are considering running in May's municipal elections. The goal is to enrich their awareness and prepare them for the polls, said Council Secretary-General Lulwa Al Awadhi.
She added that any woman standing as a candidate must be at least 30-years old, a Bahraini citizen and able to read and write Arabic. She should also enjoy all her civil and political rights and be resident in the municipal zone where she plans to run. (Albawaba.com)
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