13 Mar 2018 – 13:00

DIFI forum explores social barriers to women’s political participation

From left, Salma Al Jamal, TV Presenter, Al Jazeera Channel, and moderator of the session, Dr Ghadeer Assiri, Kuwaiti Activist, Dr Hend Al Muftah, Member of Shura Council, and Nashia Al Karoosi, Vice President, Coordinating Committee of Women Parliament of Inter-Parliamentary Unio (IPU), at an interactive discussion “Women in Parliament in the Arab Region: Rationale, Challenges and Opportunities”, part of Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) Forum on Political Participation and Arab Women as Agents of Change, held at the QNCC in Doha. (Picture by: Salim Matramkot/The Peninsula)

By Amna Pervaiz Rao | The Peninsula

DOHA: The Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), held an open forum titled ‘Political Participation and Arab Women as Agents of Change’ yesterday, in celebration of International Women’s Day in Qatar at QNCC.

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The event, organized in collaboration with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences, included a panel discussion on the rationale, challenges, and opportunities of women in parliament in the Arab region and explored the social barriers to women’s political participation.

The forum, opened the floor to topics such as Qatari women in parliament and the impact of their representation in influencing policy-making.

The topics which were discussed at the forum included, Women Role: beyond the domestic sphere, Social barriers to women’s political participation: public attitudes and views, women in parliament: whose interest will they serve and agents of change or mere beneficiaries: women as drivers and contributors to social change instead of being mere beneficiaries.

Noor Al Malki Al-Jehani, Executive Director, DIFI, said: “This event seeks to analyze the current situation of women in parliament, with particular emphasis on women’s leadership and participation in decision-making in the Arab region and at international level.

“The event aims to examine the links between women’s presence in decision-making and their impact on improving living conditions for families, communities, and societies as a whole”.

This discussion forum shed light on the recent steps taken by Qatar to nominate four female members to the Shura Council, which represents an important historic milestone in the process of empowering Qatari women,” added Al-Jehani.

Panel speakers included female members of the Qatari Shura Council, Dr. Hend Al Muftah and Reem Mohammed al Mansouri; Eng. Nashia Al Kharoosi, Member of State Council & Council Bureau in Oman; and Dr. Ghadeer Al-Assiri, a researcher and political activist from Kuwait.

During the event Eng. Nashia Al Kharoosi said: “It is a pleasure for me to be here in Qatar today to mark International Women’s Day. This is such an important date for us to reflect on progress made, share good practices and call for further change towards achieving gender equality in political decision-making and in all other areas of life”.

The event came up with policy recommendations to advance women’s participation and leadership through, inter alia, capacity-building, coalition-building and gender-sensitive institutional policies, program and mechanisms, based on the identification of the most promising practices and lessons learned from the panelists’ experiences.

Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) is a global policy and advocacy Institute working to advance knowledge on Arab families and promote evidence-based polices.

The Institute is part of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and enjoys special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.