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Supreme Council for Women>Supreme Council for Women>Media Center>News>Council News>l Ansari highlights Bahrain’s support for women through COVID-19 and beyond
l Ansari highlights Bahrain’s support for women through COVID-19 and beyond


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Supreme Council for Women Secretary-General Hala bint Mohammed Jaber Al-Ansari has published an article, in coordination with the Economic Development Board, on the World Economic Forum (Davos) website as part of the efforts to promote national success stories the internationally.

The recently published article highlighted Bahrain’s measures to support women in confronting the Covid-19 pandemic and to enhance their ability to withstand the negative challenges of the pandemic as well as to activate their national role in facing them and raise their levels of participation in public life, including in the economic sector.

“Much of the recent progress on women’s advancement could be at risk of collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, as reports from around the world indicate, the current recession could substantially widen the economic gender balance gap,” Al Ansari wrote in her article “Three ways Bahrain is supporting women through COVID-19 and beyond.”

“In an April report, the United Nations declared that women would be the group hardest hit by the pandemic. Women’s lives will be disproportionately and differently affected from men’s for several reasons – these include less access to social protections and a greater chance of heading households.”

Women will be the backbone of recovery within our communities. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged member states to put women at the center of rebuilding efforts and involve women in all aspects of the decision-making hierarchy, she added.

“Bahrain has made progress towards gender balance in business ownership, with 42% of all commercial registrations in the kingdom female-owned. On the enterprise front, Bahrain has the highest share of female founders in the world,” she wrote.

Al Ansari stressed that Bahrain is extending a "gender balance" approach to mitigating the impact of coronavirus, ensuring that women do not become economic victims of the pandemic.

In her article, she referred to three initiatives to extend support to women during the pandemic.

Realizing the importance of the female presence at the frontline where they comprise 75% of the global healthcare workforce, the government adopted a recommendation issued by the SCW to grant the spouses of women assuming vital frontline duties the opportunity to work remotely, she wrote.

Additionally, from the earliest stages of the outbreak, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa directed authorities to enable mothers in the public sector to work from home and to monitor the progress of their children’s virtual education process, she added.

Al Ansari pointed out that through a campaign launched by the Supreme Council for Women (SCW) early in March 2020 entitled “Together for the Safety of Bahrain”, a program called Your Remote Advisor was introduced to ensure the continuous provision of the Council’s psychological, family, legal and economic consultations. The program conducts consultations via video conferencing and instant live chats in order to respond to requests for support and remote guidance.

Unlike many countries, Bahrain has not witnessed a significant increase in domestic violence, as families voluntarily committed to staying at home, while the Supreme Council for Women intensified cooperation with civil society organizations concerned with advising women and families, and launched awareness and educational programs that provided psychological support and motivation to boost the morale and deal with the new reality imposed by the virus.

Al Ansari highlighted the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, President of the SCW, to extend a loan and debt waiver to women with outstanding debts - who are primarily divorced, widowed or are suffering from chronic diseases - facing court orders to repay their financial dues.

In line with other national efforts, the SCW facilitated the payment of these women’s dues in coordination with the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19.