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Blueprint major step for women.

Byline: RASHA AL QAHTANI

A DECISION to include women in Bahrain's national budget for the first time is set to revolutionise the way health, housing and childcare services are provided.

Supreme Council for Women (SCW) assistant secretary-general Bahija Al Dailami said the strategy would empower women and promote integration.

The blueprint will take into account women's health, education, housing, childcare and other services and programmes that benefit the family, said the official in charge of implementing and assessing national strategy to promote Bahraini women.

"The SCW wants to work closely with the ministries to agree on some of the mechanisms of the national budget and find out where the women's needs are met," she said.

"The budget analysis of ministries is very general and has some gaps when it comes to budgeting for men and women."

Ms Al Dailami was speaking at the opening of a SCW workshop, entitled 'Budget analysis according to women's needs', held at the organisation's office in Riffa.

The two-day event is being held in co-operation with the Finance Ministry and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Twenty-one participants from various ministries attended yesterday's event, which was conducted by UNIFEM's Egypt-based co-ordinator Maya Morsi.

She said the main aim of the workshop was to find mechanisms in which to merge mainstream needs with the country's finances.

"Bahrain is moving in the right direction and quickly by producing a national strategy which aims at empowering women and promoting their integration," said Ms Morsi.

"This national strategy helped the Education Ministry to put into consideration women's needs and translate it and include it in their budgeting scheme."

Ms Morsi said they increased their teachers' salaries after they found them low, according to the national strategy's article seven.

"This is what is required, by taking the special needs of women and including them in the budgeting," she said.

"We do not want to see the percentage of men and women hired in every ministry but what is allocated for them in the budget whether it is salaries, health and education, among others."

Ms Morsi said that the needs of women were reflected in Bahrain's national strategy and that all ministries must take it as a model for their budgeting.

"Women should not be seen as a weak category but as equal to men and should get the same treatment and be included in the budgeting just like men," she said.

"The government must know about the needs of its citizens and studying them is a must."

rasha@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Aug 28, 2008
Words:436
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