Upon the invitation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Vice-President of the Bahrain Women’s Association, Dr. Wajeeha Al-Baharna, participated in a regional consultative meeting for the Middle East and North Africa on the implementation of the right to participate in public affairs, in Beirut from 21-22 December 2017. Relevant United Nations agencies, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, academia and other relevant stakeholders attended the meeting to discuss the scope of women’s right to participate in public affairs.
Dr. Wajeeh Al Baharna, participated in the session entitled “Enjoyment of the equal right to participate in public affairs by all: overcoming challenges, creating opportunities and sharing good practices”. She pointed out that “Women’s participation in all walks of life and their presence in decision-making and decision-taking are essential and are integral to the obligations of citizenship, emphasizing: Any “development” that does not take into account the participation of men and women together is defective and unsustainable”. Dr. Al Baharna also presented the key challenges (legal, political, social, economic and cultural) and their impact on reducing the effective participation of women in public life.
As for remedies and solutions, Al Baharna pointed out that the root causes of discrimination must be addressed to obtain effective and “sustainable” outcomes, and that corrective actions should include all aspects of life: political, economic, social, cultural and religious, in addition to the significance of involving all relevant parties in society to play their roles.
As for successful practices topic, Al Baharna presented the experience of BWA in “Women’s Rights from a Renewed Perspective” project, which focuses on addressing the roots of discrimination by reforming the societal notions and customs and amending the misinterpretation of religious texts.