took part in a rally on Saturday in support of Iranian women
Arabia Celebrates International Women’s Day
Communities in Britain Celebrate International Women’s Day
Saudi Women Can Work As Flight Attendants
Arabia’s Day Care Saves Saudi Female Employees SR52,000
Saleswomen in Bakeries And Sweet Stalls Lament Lack Of Support
of Women March For Equality In Karachi, Pakistan
Shocked Women’s Day March Was Used To Promote LGBT
Say Sudan Court Sentences Nine Women Protesters to Flogging
Women Have Come a Long Way
prohibit guardians from exploiting women under their care
Biker Dedicates Ride To Brave Pakistani Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Abused Muslim Women Better Than ‘Cohabitation’ With Corrupt People, PAS Told
LUMPUR, March 10 — PAS should take an interest in and support groups or
initiatives that defend the rights of Muslim women instead of attacking them,
Hannah Yeoh has said.
deputy women, family and community development minister expressed her
disappointment, after the Islamist party questioned the government’s
channelling of funds to Muslim NGO Sisters in Islam (SIS), which helps abused
Muslim women fight for their rights.
a Facebook posting, Yeoh said that PAS should rightfully take a keen interest
in issues concerning mistreated Muslim women, adding that it is a far better
deed than siding with corrupt people.
a federal deputy minister in charge of portfolio involving families, children
and women, including Muslim women, the provision for those who take the
initiative to do the work of defending the rights of Muslim women is very
important. Defending the rights of all abused Muslim women and women is far superior
than cohabitation with those who defend corruption,” Yeoh said.
is a legal aid clinic run by SIS since 2003. They have done advisory work
regarding Islamic Family Laws and Shariah Criminal Offences Laws to Muslim
women, and those who need it, and they do it for free.
date, more than 8,400 women and men have benefitted from Telenisa,” she said.
DAP lawmaker was responding to a statement by PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan
Ibrahim Tuan Man who lamented government funding for SIS, after the government
announced a RM30,000 allocation for the NGO.
Ibrahim had remarked that it was unfair to allocate funding for SIS, which he
labelled as “controversial” and one that causes “polemic” among Muslims.
organ Harakah Daily quoted him reportedly as saying that any movements that
contradict the country’s policies, such as human rights bodies, including the
Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), must instead be reviewed.
Yeoh defended the move, saying that the money from the deputy minister’s
allocation was to support those who compile data and statistics which can aid
in planning and intervention work that addresses the country’s social issues.
said SIS had also compiled a 2019 Telenisa Statistics Book which collected details
of divorce cases involving Muslim women, as well as cases of women and children
who are faced with financial issues owing to failed marriages.
a truly caring government will give importance to data and statistics to solve
a party which claims to fight for the right of Muslim women, PAS should be more
objective and attentive to statistics and findings from Telenisa.
women, or non-Muslim, they are both faced with abuse and must be defended by
all, and it is my responsibility and desire to help to the best of my ability,”
government agencies and private sector institutions in Saudi Arabia celebrated
International Women’s Day in numerous events, while government and private
websites witnessed a review of the successes and achievements of Saudi women in
this context, the "Trust" initiative was launched in Jeddah, during
which four Saudi women recounted their success stories in the field of
entrepreneurship and self-development. .
initiative aims at empowering women to enter the Saudi labor market and
activate their role in society under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
the support of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, a number of women’s
sports competitions were organized from March 1-6. An exhibition was also held
at King Saud University to highlight achievements by Saudi women at all levels.
The event featured dialogue sessions with the participation of leading female
Riyadh Chamber will mark International Women’s Day in a forum on women's
empowerment on Saturday. The forum will highlight the role of Saudi women in
various fields of work and their active participation in the development
King Saud University organized a marathon as part of the promotion of Saudi
women's presence and empowerment in sport, Saudi Aramco celebrated
International Women's Day within the company's quest to include and empower
women in various positions and to create a better gender balance.
Public Prosecution participated in International Women’s Day through its
Twitter platform, where it said that women occupy key positions as the number
of female prosecutors is 200. The Public Prosecution also touched on the
women’s legal rights of protection from any kind of violence, abuse and
University, west of the Kingdom, is organizing a forum entitled “Saudi Women
... Ambitions and Achievements under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030”. The forum is
held under the patronage of Dr. Hossam bin Abdul Wahab Zaman, Rector of the
Hundreds took part in a rally on Saturday in support of Iranian women, who are
at the forefront of the ongoing popular protests and strikes against the regime
across the country.
of the Anglo-Iranian Communities and supporters of the National Council of
Resistance of Iran (NCRI) organized a rally outside Number 10 Downing Street in
London to mark International Women’s Day.
the decisive role of women in Iran protests, they called on the UK government
to support the democratic aspiration of the Iranian people.
of different Anglo-Iranian associations addressed the rally and highlighted the
significant role that women have played in Iran’s freedom movement for more
than 100 years.
condemned the regime’s systematic suppression and discrimination against women
in Iran that has reduced women and girls to second class citizens.
also called on the UK government to proscribe the Revolutionary Guard Corps
(IRGC) and the regime’s Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) in their entirety as
terrorist organizations “because they are the main repressive forces behind the
intensified domestic repression and recent surge in terrorist plots and
espionage against Iranian dissidents, activists and NCRI, outside Iran,” the
support the cause of human rights and democracy in Iran. The appalling
situation of women in Iran is why we need reforms and change. So I am here to
support your just demands for justice, democracy and freedom,” said Theresa
Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet and former secretary of state for
stand here today on International Women’s Day to honor Iran’s strong,
committed, courageous women in Iran. To the brave women of Iran, who have to
endure revolutionary guards harassment, we support you and stand beside you in
the struggle for human rights, equality and justice. We salute you, we are with
you,” Dr. Jocelynne Scutt, former judge, jurist and university professor at
Roger Lyons, former president of TUC said: “We strongly support the protests by
many sectors of the Iranian society. I am proud that TUC has supported the
demands of Iranian workers. I am here to fully support the democratic
aspirations of the Iranian people, especially women, led by the NCRI and its
president-elect Maraym Rajavi.”
February alone, more than 248 protests in 71 cities and towns were reported
from Iran, which is an average of nine protests per day. Teachers, including
many women, took part in 13 rallies in February and a nationwide sit-in strike
in at least 31 cities in March.
regime has responded by labelling defense of women’s rights a crime and
considers women’s rights activists as “enemies of the state”. “87 women have
been executed since the so-called“moderate” President Hassan Rouhani took over
the presidency in Iran,” the NCRI said.
December 2018, the NCRI’s Women’s Committee revealed that “only last year,
nearly one thousand women were arrested and detained in prisons for their
involvement in anti-government protests”.
of various professions have staged numerous nationwide strikes across the
country, including workers, teachers, nurses, students, farmers, retirees,
defrauded investors, and families of prisoners.
Islamic Republic is suffering form extreme poverty, water shortages,
environmental decimation, a severe health crisis, 40% inflation, 50% deficit
and 40% unemployment.
long as the clerical regime is in power, none of these ills will be resolved.
The ruling (regime) will become ever more dependent on their devastating
policies, namely the suppression of Iranian society, warmongering and
destructive meddling in the region, money laundering, terrorism in Europe and
the United States, and plundering the assets of the people of Iran,” said NCRI
via video link on Friday during an opposition rally in Washington, Rajavi said
the international community is “duty-bound to respect the struggle of the
Iranian people to overthrow the clerical regime. This is essential for global
peace and security.
is time for the State Department to designate the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)
and the Ministry of Intelligence as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).
Doing so would be a positive message to the Iranian people and a decisive
message against the clerical regime,” she added.
NCRI said in a further assault on human rights in the country, Iran’s Supreme
Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi as the head of the regime’s
NCRI said Raisi is one of the regime’s officials responsible for the massacre
of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, including pregnant women and girls as
young as 15-year-old.
join you in condemning the appointment of Raisi and urging the UK government to
take the lead and to work with allies at the UN to ask relevant bodies to order
an investigation and bring the regime’s officials like Raisi to justice for
crimes against humanity,” said Malcolm Fowler, senior solicitor and former
member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.
did not take long for Saudis to get used to female cashiers at local
supermarkets in 2010 - nor did it take much time to get used to saleswomen
explaining the differences among vacuum cleaners, mobile phones, cameras and a
variety of electronics from tablets to cameras a couple of year later. Then
came women behind the wheel in 2018.
Saudi women working at 30,000 feet to ensure the safety and comfort of airline
passengers as cabin crew.
and flyadeal, two Saudi private national carriers, have shattered the big blue
ceiling, graduating recently their first class of female Saudi flight
attendants and putting them on their initial flights earlier this year, a
statement issued on Saturday said.
to careers in aviation are opening across the sector, but it is flynas and
flyadeal that have largely taken the lead in attracting Saudi women to the
privatised wild blue yonder. With aviation earmarked as a main component in the
campaign for economic diversification, privatisation and increased employment
of women, flynas has taken the initiative to pursue those goals through the
establishment of its "Future Pilots" and "Flight
Attendants" programmes, both of which proactively encourage the participation
of women. Until now, passengers on Saudi airlines were attended to by
which had begun posting jobs for Saudi women to work as flight attendants in
the second half of last year, graduated its first cadre of female Saudi flight
attendants earlier this year, and they have started working soon afterwards.
now, passengers on Saudi airlines were attended to by foreigners.'
women are as competent as their male counterparts when it comes to working as
flight attendants and ensuring the safety and comfort of travelers," said
Mashael Muteb, flynas' first female Saudi flight attendant who actually trained
as a dentist before entering flynas' flight attendants program.
who has a degree in dentistry and public health and no background in aviation,
adds: "My love for flying and aviation rose when my sister graduated from
flight school and there were no jobs for her in this field in Saudi at the
time. And I continued studying health as there were no aviation tracks or
courses offered at universities in Saudi yet. But that all changed last
September, on hearing FlyNas announcement of introducing more jobs in aviation
first experience of flying as a flight attendant was on the FlyNas Airbus A320.
She recalls her first time as a flight attendant in the skies and was shocked
at how taxing at times it was to deal with difficult passengers.
mother was upset with me because I noticed her toddler running around, in the
aisle and as I attended to the child, she was furious that I was taking care of her own child, but
this was an opening eye experience on dealing with different personalities and
aside from hospitality on board the aircraft I was quite pleased with our
performance and how we were all ready as new cabin crew on so many fronts.''
does not seem to be much dispute about the abilities of Saudi women to play
valuable roles in aviation. According to flynas, some 300 women and men are
expected to attend its flight attendants' programme over the next two years,
and the airline expects to begin employing Saudi female co-pilots in the near
was in January of 2018 that Dr. Eqbal Darandari, an assistant professor of
psychology at King Saud University in Riyadh and one of the first female
members of the consultative Shoura Council, called for the General Authority of
Civil Aviation (GACA) and Saudi airline companies to support employing Saudi
women as pilots, co-pilots and flight attendants.
Saudi women in business and integrating them into a predominantly male job
market is a substantial part of fulfilling the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which
also intends to increase women's participation in the workforce from 22 per
cent to 30 per cent by the end of the next decade. As for the Saudi aviation
industry, Dr. Darandari's call for inclusion has, indeed, been heeded.
recent meeting, part of a "Let's Talk Aviation" campaign organised by
flynas in conjunction with Prince Sultan University, attracted women from
across the industry.
Al Sulaimani, Corporate Communications Manager at the small Saudi airline,
Nesma, began her professional life as a copywriter before receiving a job offer
from the airline. The airline's parent company, Nesma Holding, has a strong
reputation for being proactive in employing women and meeting the government's
Kingdom is becoming increasingly clear that female Saudis harbour the same
kinds of dreams that infuse the lives of young Saudi males. Esraa Alem, 31,
Communication Representative at the Saudi Ground Services Company (SGSC),
revealed her path to aviation that is not dissimilar to many around the world
who have chosen aviation as a career. ''I got into aviation because my father
used to work for Saudia Airlines," she said. "It was always my dream
to work in aviation. Now, I have a master's degree in communications, and I'm
proud to say that I am among the very first batch of Saudi women to join the
staff at SGSC.''
it is not just the private sector that is opening its doors to women. The
Kingdom's General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) hired Maha Al Yamani, a
specialist in risk management, as its first female employee. Al Yamani told
those gathered at the "Let's Talk Aviation" gathering that there is
an abundance of positions in the aviation sector for Saudi females and in light
of the recent doubling of the number of Saudi women working in the field, the
future looks bright.
have a couple of aviation schools up-and-running," she said. "Some
schools train pilots, some schools train maintenance staff and there are other
schools like Prince Sultan University that teach the management side of
aviation. In 2015, I was the very first lady to join the civil aviation
authority. Since then, we have brought 170 women into the authority itself.
Meanwhile, in the private sector women have already been working, whether on
the ground or in the air. I mean, it may sound silly, but the sky's the limit
for us. First, the dream was to get a job, any job, in any field, including aviation.
I got the job in aviation and then I got promoted and now I am a director. Who
knows what's next? I, for one, am open to any opportunity. We'll see what we
series of reforms in the Kingdom over the past two years has focused largely on
empowering women. Notable among these reforms was a Royal Decree issued in
September 2017 by King Salman lifting the ban on women driving as of last June
24, 2018. The Saudi Vision 2030 roadmap for the future also mandates an
increase in the percentage of women in the workforce. Recently, Saudi women
broke down the gender barriers at the Ministry of Justice, as dozens of Saudi
women started their new jobs in November at the ministry, marking the latest
move in the empowerment of women in the public sector.
CEO Bandar Al Mohanna announced two new initiatives by the company to empower
women in the aviation sector, through enabling them to work in the maintenance
department, and allowing married couples to work together within shared roles
that suit their work schedules.
— Bupa Arabia designed a day care in accordance with the international
standards for its working mothers who have kids from 3 months to 2 years of age
and it has helped in these mothers working in an environment that was
conducive, while also helping to save money spent of private nurseries, in
addition to increasing productivity.
National Transformation Initiative 2020 has succeeded in supporting and
empowering Saudi women and increasing their participation in the labor market
locally by providing nurseries for working mothers within the workplace.
of the private sector companies were more dynamic than others as many of them
have contributed towards establishing nurseries within the working environment.
These nurseries cater to kids from 3 months to 2 years of age. Such
contribution has helped save SR52,000 spent on private nurseries.
to the International Labor Organization (ILO), availability of nurseries for
female employees at the workplace has played a vital role in increasing their
productivity, improving their job performance, and alleviating the challenges
they face, especially when their monthly salary does not cover day care
October of 2017, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development issued a
ministerial resolution under Section 9 of the Labor Code for the Employment of
Women, in which the employer is obliged to provide a suitable place and care
takers if there are 50 female employees and at least 10 children.
Al-Amoudi, chief HR officer at Bupa Arabia, said that the idea of workplace day
care centers has been applied at Bupa Arabia in 2011 — 6 years before the
ministerial decision, as we strongly believe in empowering women and providing
care for the children of working mothers.
are delighted that Bupa Arabia supports the country’s plans to empower working
women by setting up children day care, which is in line with the Saudi Vision
2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020,” he further added.
he has confirmed that Bupa Arabia designed its day care based on international
standards, without charging any fees or additional cost. Al-Amoudi also
highlighted the fact that only a few companies are providing such suitable and
convenient environment, which can strengthen the working
to Al-Amoudi, Bupa Arabia has succeeded in providing an intelligent model to
support its working mothers through Saudi women, who have had prior experience
of working with children and teaching positive behaviours.
it is essential for them to have advanced certificates in Montessori Education,
an approved certificate by the Ministry of Education, first aid license,
cardiopulmonary resuscitation methods from one of the approved health sectors,
and a health certificate that she is free from any infectious diseases in
addition to training in the development of children and infants, and a training
certificate in Environmental Health and Safety.
talked about the philosophy for the day care, which is based on the approach of
teaching 15-months old children the exploration and independence as it leads to
a better social integration. Moreover, there are specifically designed programs
to cater to the needs of those children who are under 3 years of age. The staff
to children ratio at the center is accordance with the international standards,
which means that each specialist corresponds to 4 children.
new and innovative aspects are also integrated in the day care design such as a
monitoring system to protect children from harm and abuse and the evacuation
chairs during emergencies - one such chair can carry 4-6 children and can as
well slide down stairs.
addition, there is a control system to enter the day care, which allows access
only to the mothers and the concerned employees. One of the most important
features of the nursey is a medical center, which is supervised by the
paediatricians round the clock. — SG
— A number of Saudi saleswomen working in bakeries and sweet shops are
complaining about many difficulties at the work place including long hours,
working without weekend holidays and the absence of support services.
women started their jobs in bakeries around the Kingdom about two months ago
when the decision of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to
nationalize the sector became effective.
Ahmed said she and her other colleagues were bothered by the lack of support
services that would enable them do their jobs properly in this vital sector.
should be provided with special prayer places and rest rooms,» she said, adding
that the place where they should spend their break time only has a prayer rug,
some chairs and a table.
Bandar said they needed special toilet facilities. They often have to leave the
work place to go for prayer in nearby mosques, she added.
customers see us going out, they start harassing us. We should have our own
place for prayer so that we don›t need to go out of the shops,» she said.
Abdullah said the saleswomen take rest squatting under near the cash counters,
which is embarrassing for them.
Munzir said they often had to work two shifts without any weekly off.
statistics, she said citing these difficulties about 20 percent of the
saleswomen quit their jobs in less than two months.
Al-Qahtani, a sociologist, agreed. She sympathized with the demands of the
saleswomen saying, «The lack of rest rooms and the continuous work in two
shifts without any weekly off are factors that reduce job satisfaction and are
also strong reasons for the women to quit their jobs.»
asked the shop owners and the Ministry of Labor to provide the women with all
the facilities and incentives that would enable them to continue in their jobs.
Ismail Hamoudah, a member of the committee on bakeries at the Jeddah Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (JCCI), strongly supported the demands of the saleswomen
and said they should be provided with rest rooms, toilets and special places to
perform their prayers.
said erring shop owners should be punished according to the rules and
regulations governing women›s work.
Linjawi, a member of the human resources committee at the JCCI, blamed the
saleswomen for not officially complaining to the concerned authorities to
improve their working conditions.
women›s silence about their suffering will encourage the owners of the bakeries
and sweet shops to continue denying them their rights,» he said.
Women in Pakistan are breaking stereotypes, and what better day to do it than
on International Women’s Day. On March 8, women gathered in thousands at
Karachi’s Frere Hall, to make a bold statement - it was time to claim public
spaces. The #AuratMarch or women’s march was held for advocating for equality
and spreading awareness about gender issues.
women were not the only participants, men and transgenders belonging from
different economic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds attended the
iconic event. A march led by women was the highlight of festivities that also
included speeches, recitals, music and dance performances.
media users applauded the participants and the change they are calling for.
Many of the women asked for safer conditions in the country.
user, @pakistanned posted: “I went to the aurat march and it was so amazing, I can’t
stop smiling and I feel a little safer in this country knowing that so many
openly advocate for diversity and empowerment…”
@NayaDaurPhotos, shared an image and wrote: “This woman asked her husband to
wait while she read the #AuratMarch manifesto.”
@curlistani, emphasised the importance of such events: “Because I’m tired of
being afraid, tired of being stared at, groped, stalked, tired of hearing about
child sexual abuse, tired of hearing about women being murdered for choosing
whom to love. I’m tired of all the definitions of womanhood that limit us
there were some who seem to hold on to the conservative norms Pakistani
some others who felt such a march is unnecassary. Tweep @Specterational posted:
“#AuratMarch is just an attention seeking agenda. We already get enough
attention by playing the woman card. Do we still need to run for rights? Stand
in the que same as men in the scorching heat and I bet all men will march with
those who criticised the march, Twitter user @ManalFaheemKhan said: “One person
does not represent an entire movement. If you see one feminist behaving
inappropriately, that doesn’t mean that the #AuratMarch is flawed or deserves
to be boycotted. Think of what this march is trying to accomplish. It’s bigger
than you and your individual differences.”
shocked Women’s Day march was used to promote LGBT
LUMPUR, March 9 — A minister today reaffirmed that the government does not
accept the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community’s practices
here, following a march where the community’s rights were one of the issues
Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in
charge of religion, was commenting on the march today by civil society
organisations in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
am very shocked with the actions of certain quarters today that misused
democratic space to defend things that are wrong in the religion of Islam,” he
said in a brief statement posted on his official Facebook account, without
directly pinpointing what he was referring to.
then went on to speak about LGBT practices.
I have said before this, the government is very firm that LGBT practices will
not be accepted at all in this country. How is it possible that we recognise an
act that is wrong in law?
Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also stressed about this matter,” he
relation to this morning’s gathering, I leave it to the Home Ministry that has
the legal powers to act and take firm action,” he said.
his Facebook post, Mujahid included a link to a news report by local daily
Berita Harian, which quoted Dang Wangi district police chief Asst Comm
Shaharuddin Abdullah as saying that no permit was issued for the march as the
organisers gave less than 10 days’ of advance notice.
was reported saying that the police will investigate the organisers under
Section 9 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
the repeal of Section 27 of the Police Act and the introduction of the Peaceful
Assembly Act, organisers of peaceful assemblies no longer need to obtain a
police permit, but have to give advance notice of 10 days of the gathering to
reportedly showed up for the almost one kilometre-long march today from the
Sogo shopping mall to the historic Sultan Abdul Samad building.
march, which was aimed at pushing for the protection of the rights of women and
minorities, went beyond the championing of issues such as the defence of the
LGBT community’s rights.
five official demands of the march are for the end of violence based on gender
and sexual orientation; child marriages; the protection of the rights and
freedom of women to make choices over their own body and lives; a minimum wage
of RM1,800; and the destruction of patriarchy.
march included participation from groups such as the Women’s Aid Organisation
(WAO), Sisters in Islam (SIS) and political party Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Sudanese emergency court on Saturday sentenced nine women protesters to 20
lashes each for participating in an unauthorized demonstration against
President Omar al-Bashir’s rule, defense lawyers said.
ruling by the Khartoum court came despite Bashir on Friday ordering the release
of all female detainees held during nationwide demonstrations that have rocked
the country since December.
authorities have set up special emergency courts to investigate violations of a
nationwide state of emergency imposed by Bashir on February 22 to end the
demonstrations after an initial crackdown failed to suppress the protest
nine women protesters were taken to court after they were arrested on Thursday
for participating in a “banned demonstration” earlier that day in the capital’s
eastern district of Burri, a site of regular protests.
women protesters have been sentenced to one month jail and 20 lashes,” defence
lawyer Enaam Atieg told AFP. “They have been taken to women’s prison in
Omdurman,” she said, referring to the twin city of the capital across the Nile.
said an appeal against the court’s verdict will be filed on Sunday. A lawyers’
group that is part of the protest movement also confirmed the sentencing.
pressure from their lawyers the court has still not implemented the floggings,”
the Democratic Lawyers Alliance said in a statement. Saturday’s ruling was not
the first against protesters since special emergency courts were established.
men accused of participating in a rally were handed jail terms ranging from six
months to five years on March 1 in the first such penalties by the special
courts. An emergency appeals court on Thursday overturned that decision and
freed the eight protesters.
Friday, Bashir ordered the release of all women detainees held during the
demonstrations since they erupted last year, in a move that coincided with
International Women’s Day.
initially broke out in Sudan on December 19 following a government decision to
triple the price of bread. They quickly mushroomed into nationwide
demonstrations against Bashir’s three-decade rule, with crowds calling on the
veteran leader to step down.
himself has acknowledged that the protests were led by youths, the majority of
them women. Officials say 31 people have died in protest related violence so
far, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at least 51.
the past few years, the topic of women's rights in the Gulf has attracted much
attention in the region and beyond. It has become a favourite subject of public
forums, conferences, academic scholarship and the local and international
those who are most concerned about women's rights in the Gulf and the Arabian
Peninsula cannot deny the fact that much progress has been made in the area
over the past two decades. The movement for women's rights, which has been
joined by men as well, has sought relentlessly to empower women and to secure
the same opportunities in education, work and other aspects of public life
afforded to men in the region.
empowerment has been achieved at different levels in Gulf countries, given the
difference in local political and social circumstances, there are a number of
remarkable achievements that have to be highlighted.
work, and wealth
was the key that opened the door to women's participation in public life. The
first girls' schools in the region were established in Bahrain and Kuwait in
the 1920s. By the 1950s, educational institutions for girls had been founded
across the region.
slowly started changing traditional perceptions of gender roles and women's
position in society. In the following decades, women secured not only the right
to higher education but also the opportunity to pursue studies abroad,
eventually supported by government scholarships.
the Gulf was relatively late in introducing women's education compared with the
rest of the Arab world, over the past 60 years it has not only managed to catch
up with other Arab countries, but has even overtaken them.
region now boasts the highest education rates for women in the Arab world. Gulf
women are also more educated than Gulf men. In Qatar, for example, 54 percent
of university-age women are enrolled, compared with just 28 percent of men; in
Bahrain and Kuwait, women also outnumber men in institutions of higher
women also enjoy higher labour participation rates than women in other Arab
countries, with Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar leading in this statistic. Growing
access to work and business opportunities for women has also increased their
personal wealth. According to a 2012 report, enterprises managed by Gulf women
hold assets worth $358bn. Last year, two Saudi women made it to the Forbes'
most powerful women ranking: Lubna Olayan and Rania Nashar.
opening for women
increasingly more educated and active in the labour force, Gulf women have also
sought political empowerment. Their attainment of political rights has not
lagged too far behind men's given the constricted political space in the
region. In the early 2000s, Gulf countries finally started allowing women to
pursue and occupy political posts (in some instances, these rights were given
at the same time as men).
2002, Bahraini women were given the right to vote and run in elections for the
first time; four years later Lateefa al-Gaood became the first Bahraini woman
elected to parliament.
2005, Kuwait also allowed women to vote and stand for election. Four years
later, four Kuwaiti women were elected to the parliament: Massouma al-Mubarak,
Salwa al-Jassar, Aseel al-Awadhi and Rola Dashti.
2003, the Gulf also witnessed the appointment of its first women ministers. In
March of that year, Sheikha Aisha bint Khalfan took charge of the National
Authority for Industrial Craftsmanship in Oman and in May, Sheikha Ahmed
al-Mahmoud became Qatar's education minister.
a decade and a half after this modest political opening, there have been more
steps made forward and a few backward. The speaker of parliament in Bahrain and
the vice chairperson of the state council in Oman are both women (Fawzia
Abdulla Yusuf Zainal and Suad al-Lawati respectively).
UAE and Saudi Arabia have also started to give opportunities to women to occupy
important government posts. In 2013, the late King Abdullah appointed 30 women
to the Shura Council and last year King Salman entrusted the post of deputy
minister of labour and social development to Tamader bint Yousif al-Rammah. In
the UAE, Amal Abdullah al-Qubaisi became the first woman to hold the post of
speaker of the Federal National Council in 2018.
are still many challenges ahead. Some achievements in the political arena,
especially in Bahrain and Kuwait, have been rolled back. Women face a lack of
social and financial support that makes it difficult for them to run for
office. Various levels of political repression across Gulf states have also
affected women and women's rights activists. And despite appointments to
official positions, political decision-making largely remains in the hands of
sections of the Gulf societies are still dominated by views that reduce the
importance of women's participation in the public sphere. These are very much
reflected in various provisions of family and personal status laws, which can
restrict certain social and economic activities of women and put them at a
legal disadvantage to men, with Saudi Arabia still retaining a strict
Bahrain (2006), the UAE (2008), Qatar (2010) and recently Kuwait (2018) allowed
women to become judges, the judiciary and the interpretation of the law is
still very much dominated by men.
these major challenges, it has to be recognised my generation witnessed the
transformation from "ground zero" to the impressive level of public
participation Gulf women enjoy today. The struggle of the next generation will
indeed be difficult and change will be slow, but they will be aided along the
way by the established consensus in the Gulf that women's socioeconomic
empowerment has to be part of any comprehensive development strategy and any
"future vision" plans.
on women's participation are no longer just a bunch of nice words that grace
reports of international organisations; they are real and tangible despite all
the remaining political and social barriers. Indeed, the difficulties that were
surmounted to get us where we are today are considerably bigger than the ones
that lie ahead.
Mufarreh is a Kuwaiti writer, journalist and poet.
— The Criminal Procedure Regulations prohibit guardians from exploiting or from
any form of psychological, physical, and sexual mistreatment or threats against
women related to them or under their guardianship or care.
Public Prosecution said in a report issued on the occasion of the International
Women’s Day that a guardian’s failure or negligence to fulfill his duties or
commitments to provide basic needs to his family members or those under his
care by regulation will be considered as mistreatment.
Articles of the Criminal Procedure Regulations also protect women’s privacy
during security inspections and uphold their legal rights, the Public
woman suspected of a crime is checked only by a woman deputized by the Criminal
Investigations Department (CID).
woman is residing in a house which is to be inspected then those in charge of
inspection should have a woman officer with them.
54 the Criminal Procedure Regulations ensure that women living in the residence
which is to be inspected should be allowed to wear their hijabs.
are 200 female employees and 300 administrative staff working at the Public
Prosecution. There are 150 female university students undergoing training at
the Public Prosecution.
per Article 12 of the Criminal Procedure Regulations, confidentiality of
juveniles and girls are maintained during investigations.
36 stipulates that a woman can only be questioned in the presence of her
unmarriageable relative (maharam). If this is not possible, then khulwa
(illicit seclusion) is forbidden.
regulations for protection of women from harassment stress that women should be
protected from any kind of harassment, violence or insult.
also guarantees protection of working women against harassment.
Pakistani female biker, Guliafshan Tariq, is on a solo motorbike ride with a
mission. “This ride is dedicated to Pakistan and its strong women, especially
rural women who are the real face of women empowerment,” Tariq told Gulf News
before embarking on the tour from Islamabad.
26-year-old biker aims to travel across Punjab province to be the voice of
Pakistan’s remarkable yet unheard women who are backbone of the country’s
agri-economy. “During the bike ride, I will share not only the beauty of the
Punjab region but the voices of countryside women whose incredible contribution
to economy and society remains unknown and unseen.” She will be chronicling the
trip on her social media pages.
a black jacket with gloves and helmet on, Tariq started the ride on March 8
from Islamabad city. “This ride is dedicated to both Pakistan and Pakistani
women. This is why I set out on International Women’s Day (March 8) to pay
tribute to all women and would conclude on Pakistan Day (March 23) which is a
special day for all Pakistanis”.
ride will take about 16 days during which she will cover almost 1,500km, riding
across eight major cities of Punjab including Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim
Yar Khan, Sadiqabad as well as several towns and villages.
holds three national records including a 2015 cycling journey from Islamabad to
Khunjerab Pass, the world’s highest border crossing at 16,000 feet. At the age
of 24, she entered the National Book of Records by becoming only woman to have
travelled to every district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB)
alone on a motorbike covering 3,000km in 20 days. The adventurist also
successfully attempted solo paragliding flight in Qaqlasht Plains from height
of 7,800 feet in 2017.
Pakistani biker who hails from Sargodha, Punjab province, is a software
engineer by profession and a biker by passion. Tariq draws inspiration from her
father’s travels over the world, which enthused her to travel alone. Although
her family was a little reluctant at first about her riding alone “but now they
are fully supportive”, she said smilingly looking at her brother who
accompanied her at the starting point for the ride in Islamabad.
to Gulf News, she recalled that one of the highlights of her bike trips was
meeting people along the way. When she rode across KP province alone, many
locals mistook her for a foreigner. “It was probably because of my bike and
outfit, otherwise women do ride bikes in Pakistan,” she explained. “But when I
talked to them in Urdu, they were extremely welcoming. They made my trip
memorable.” But what made her excursions remarkable was meeting the women in
rural areas. “These passionate and dedicated women are the real image and
spirit of Pakistan. This is why I want to show the world.”
share the stories of women empowerment from Pakistan, Tariq is all set for the
international journey. “Later this year, I have plans to ride a bike from
Pakistan to Germany via Iran and Turkey. I want to take the message of peace
and women empowerment from Pakistan to global level.”
There's a Dubai connection, too; she was seen on the beach at JBR soaking in
the sun not too long ago.
Tariq holds 3 national records
Cycling trip from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass, world’s highest border crossing.
Only woman to ride a bike alone across every district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
Gilgit Baltistan covering 3,000km in 20 days.
First Pakistan girl to paraglide from above 7,800 feet.
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