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MP calls for Arab women lawmakers’ council

It will help build confidence in their capabilities, says Ibtissam Hijris

Ibtissam Hijris
Image Credit: Supplied picture
Ibtissam Hijris is a Bahraini Member of Parliament.
Gulf News

Manama: A Bahraini MP has called for setting up a council for Arab women lawmakers.

The council will help the lawmakers reach out to other women and to the voting community and to build confidence in their capabilities as representatives of the people, MP Ibtissam Hijris said.

Steps to implement the proposal include connecting and working closely with civil society organisations, mainly local, regional and international human rights watchdogs, and with national institutions, the lawmaker said.

Under the proposal, the Arab women MPs will meet regularly to exchange expertise and knowledge and to seek solutions to issues related to women.

Ibtissam is one of the four women lawmakers in the 40-seat lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

She was elected in the parliamentary by-elections held last year after 18 lawmakers, all men representing Al Wefaq Society, resigned to protest against the way the government handled the unrest in February 2011.

Two other women, Sawsan Taqawi and Somaya Al Jowder, also won seats in the by-elections.

They joined Latifa Al Gaood, who made history in 2006 when she became the first woman to be elected to a parliament in the Arabian Gulf.

The Shura Council, the upper chamber whose 40 members are appointed by the king, has 11 women.

The government has two women ministers with portfolios. Fatima Al Beloushi is the social development minister and Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa is in charge of culture.