Perhaps Bahrain is one of the few countries in the world that has a rich and distinguished experience in the field of supporting women.
This experience is based on two factors. First, the confidence of His Majesty King Hamad in the innate ability of Bahraini women to achieve, give, and contribute to the development of themselves, their families, and their country. Second, the existence of the Supreme Council for Women headed by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King. This institution has, over two decades, managed to build a comprehensive support system for women to help them make a quantum leap in their careers.
This year’s Bahraini Women’s Day has the theme of “Bahraini Women in National Development ... a March of Progress in a Dedicated Nation”.
It is launched under the patronage of the highest authority in the country, the King himself, and is further proof of the high regard the Bahraini leadership has for women. It is a civilised message to the whole world to express Bahrain’s pride in what its women have achieved in terms of advanced positions in all sectors and at various levels.
I admire Bahrain’s insistence that there are no special privileges for women over men according to a so-called “quota” system. Instead, the country has created a favourable ground for fair and equal competition between women and men. We have already witnessed many examples of wide successes for women in many fields. For example, a woman became the speaker of Parliament, clear proof of the civilised Bahraini society, which votes for the best candidate, regardless of gender. We must also pay tribute to the civilised Bahraini man, the father, brother, husband, colleague, boss, and subordinate at work, who does everything in his power to support and encourage the woman to advance herself scientifically, culturally, and practically, without being jealous of her success.
Bahraini women have never lived in the shadow of outdated customs, traditions, and cultures. Even since the days of diving, when the man used to go for months on a diving trip at sea, the woman used to take on the responsibility of caring for the children and homes; they worked in agriculture, and went to the markets, and did everything that a man does.
The successful Bahraini women we see today are descendants of those brave, and open-minded women who cling to authentic Bahraini customs without limiting their ability to work and produce.
I believe that the Bahraini experience in supporting women is distinguished from its counterparts in other countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, or Lebanon. For the most part the problems of women here are not on account of emancipation, wearing the hijab, rape or violence or inequality in wages and other societal issues. This is because everyone in Bahrain agrees that the basic role of women is not just to raise children, maintain family and community stability, but also in assuming other roles in areas such as work, production, innovation, and community service.
The woman’s original role is to be a mother, and the mother is not just the woman who bears and gives birth to children. She is the one who educates them and concentrates on their psychological, intellectual, and physical health, and guarantees their well-being to build a better future for them and their country. This is a role that no man can do as well as the woman. The educated mother creates an educated, and active generation, while an ignorant mother creates a closed and destructive generation, so I say that the woman is half the present and all of the future.
I believe that whenever we are freed from the view of women as inferior, we can accelerate the rates of productivity and development of the nation and society. Women have contributed throughout history to human progress, in inventions, medicine, space, politics, sports, and even the military. And we must not forget that Ugur Sahin who developed the Covid-19 vaccine admitted the enormous efforts of his wife Özlem Türeci in helping him to reach this outstanding achievement. Now, do you know how women can save the world?