In 2001, the Supreme Council for Women was established as the authorized body responsible for all women’s affairs under the direction of His Majesty the King. The Council developed a National Strategy for the Advancement of Women that aims to strengthen the advocacy of policies and the implementation of strategies on gender mainstreaming into national development plans.
A detailed analysis was carried out of the country’s 2006 elections with a focus on women as voters and candidates. The lessons learned informed the 2010 candidates’ election campaigns as well as voters’ choices. Results of the analysis were incorporated into the strategic work of the Supreme Council for Women for the 2010 elections.
A comprehensive women’s empowerment programme is being implemented between the Supreme Council for Women and UNDP towards supporting the implementation of the National Strategy for the Advancement of Bahraini Women. The programme will strengthen national capacity for development and delivery of services and to sustain processes for economic and political empowerment of women in the Kingdom of Bahrain; as well as enhanced promotion of inclusive growth, human rights and participatory governance in accordance with international norms.
A number of activities to build capacity among national institutions and women’s NGOs were conducted, including reporting to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Assistance was provided to establishment of the Bahraini Men’s Network to End Violence against Women, the first of its kind in the Arab region. The Kingdom, in cooperation with UNDP has endeavoured to eradicate the causes of female economic hardship by introducing a small grants scheme for productive families.
To respond to the demand for incorporating gender perspectives into national development frameworks, UNDP has developed the capacity development programme the Global Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative (GEPMI). This Initiative is a direct response to demands from national counterparts to, in a more comprehensive manner, strengthen policy, programming and operational capacities for gender equality in economic planning.
Given that the empowerment of women must be taken into account in all development targets, national strategies drafted with UNDP support including the National Youth Strategy, the National Strategy for Persons with Disabilities and the National Childhood Strategy, have all taken into account the different needs of women and girls.