PROTECTING WOMEN, EMPOWERING WOMEN

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The month of October is a real special one. Along with spreading the awareness of breast cancer, this month is also about spreading the message against Domestic Violence. According to the UN, 603 million women live in nations where domestic violence is not criminalised. The women of Bahrain, however, will no longer be included in this statistic. As of 7th August 2015, domestic violence against women is considered a crime in Bahrain.

And in honour of Domestic Violence Awareness month (October), Women’s Crisis Care International (WCCI) and American Women’s Association (AWA) hosted a special event on Monday, October 19th at the Movenpick Hotel, highlighting Bahrain’s recent achievement.

During the event, WCCI and AWA acknowledged with great esteem the ratification and issuance of Law 17/2015 on the protection from domestic violence by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. This landmark law posits Bahrain as the only Gulf country to specifically outlaw domestic violence. WCCI and AWA also acknowledged the Supreme Council of Women’s (SCW) affirmation that it will launch the “National Strategy for the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence” on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th.

Bahrain has long been a leader among the Gulf nations in terms of securing gender equality. Women in Bahrain were among the first to be educated, own businesses and enter the workforce. The 1973 Penal Code formally criminalised rape and sexual assault long before other Gulf nations. Since the establishment of the SCW in 2001, Bahraini women’s ascension to full parity with men has only skyrocketed, with many Bahraini women making historic accomplishments across all fields and sectors, from finance and banking to education, health and sports.

After the election of the first female ambassador in 1999 (Sheikha Haya Al-Khalifa, who later became the third woman ever to chair a session of the UN General Assembly) more women have been appointed ambassadors, and women have entered the political sphere, serving in the Shura Council and as government ministers.

Applauding the success of Bahraini women and girls in different spheres of society, WCCI and AWA also promised to support their future empowerment and success, which will be celebrated on the 9th annual Bahraini Women’s Day on 1st December.