BAHRAIN has joined a regional coalition that aims to advance the status of women across the Middle East and North Africa.
The newly created Alwane (My Colours) programme is made up of experienced and emerging leaders from 17 countries and hopes to encourage them stand up for their rights and influence national and international policies affecting their participation in society.
It was launched by the US-based Women's Campaign International (WCI) during simultaneous events in Dubai, Jordan and Tunis.
Alwane country officer Ammar Awachi, who headed a Bahrain delegation at the GCC launch of the coalition, said that among the key areas it intends to tackle includes support for female entrepreneurs and inadequacy of existing retirement plans for working women.
"Alwane is a phrase that stands for active leaders for women's advancement in the near east and it also means My Colours in Arabic, which evokes both the ability to colour our own future and the influence of diversity in leading change," he said.
"I have formed a team of 20 members from both genders and different backgrounds and we will soon announce the location of our headquarters.
"We are targeting all women in the country whether they are entrepreneurs, employed, housewives or students.
"Our committee aims to generate discourse around pressing challenges to women's full participation in the society, as well as share intraregional success stories.
"We also aim to raise awareness, create a platform for dialogue, advocate for change and influence national, regional and international policies affecting women's participation in society."
Mr Awachi said group members plan to come up with several projects this year that could set a milestone for the status of women in Bahrain.
"Alwane Bahrain is in the process of planning many programmes through different channels like workshops, social activities, forums and local newspapers and magazines," he said.
"We are seeking to work with official bodies and local societies in the country that support women and we will provide them with any possible assistance. I expect many initiatives will take place in the coming years that will lead to opening the doors for women in Bahrain to take their suitable role in the society and will be able to participate in all fields."
The WCI was founded in 1998 by former member of congress Marjorie Margolies to provide worldwide training programmes for women.
For more information about Alwane Bahrain visit its website http://alwane-bhr.d1g.com.