The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) concluded a two-day workshop on women and development in the Gulf, which was held in partnership with the American Political Science Association (APSA) and researchers from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and supported by the Supreme Council for Women and UNDP in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Featuring 20 speakers on various panels showcasing expert analysis on highlighted achievements of women in the Gulf; many topics were discussed including empowerment measures, obstacles related to the success of women in the job market, women’s innovation within cultural framework, and the pursuit of gender balance in the workforce. The second and last day of the workshop included three sessions. The first session dealt with the past and future: diversity in the energy sector.The second session highlighted international and local advocacy and governance projects, while the third session discussed the future of women and development in the region.
In the first session, Dr. Ellen Wald, President of Transversal Consulting, an energy analyst and historian, talked about the emergence and conflict of women's work in the energy sector within the Saudi Aramco, followed by Dr. Aisha Al-Sarihi, a Research Associate at the King Abdullah Center for Petroleum Studies and Research, who discussed low-carbon emissions transformation of energy and dynamics of women’s participation in the GCC energy market. The session concluded with a presentation by Dr. Hanan Albuflasa from the University of Bahrain on women in renewable energy, she talked about her career and scientific research,highlighting women's experiences in this field.
In the second session, Ms. Nourah Shuaibi,a Kuwaiti researcher in International Economics, Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, spoke about the global health initiatives undertaken by her nonprofit organization, Global Outreach Leaders around the world, and highlighted the role that Gulf women play in supporting charity and sustainable development.
The third and last session - moderated by Deputy Bureau Chief of Energy Intelligence Amena Bakr - began with a presentation discussing the empowerment and achievements of Bahraini women, presented by expert Ranya AlJurf from the Supreme Council for Women, followed bya presentation by Dr. Fatima Alsebaie from Derasat on digital transformation, harnessing artificial intelligence, and the impact of automation on the human workforce. The session concluded with a presentation by Mrs. Jehan Al Murbati, Policy Advisor to UNDP, who reviewed experiences and statistics in the areas of sustainable growth, energy, environment, and gender.
Mr. Katadah Zaman, Executive Director of Derasat, noted that “During the last decade and beyond, women have seen significant progress in advancing the important goals of equal rights and equal opportunities.” He added that “many important proposals have been made for addressing [the] persisting challenges…most importantly the need for men to be equal partners for the fight for equality.” The Executive Director added that “Derasat’s mission revolves around making intellectual contributions to the most pressing policy problems facing society. This event falls firmly under that umbrella.”
Shaikha Nayla bint Ali Al Khalifa, Director of Communications and Knowledge Management, stressed the importance of the role of the private sector as an influential part of society as she added,“…it is not possible to achieve a social advancement without the private sector’s active and constructive contribution to youth professionalization.”She called on the private sector and large companies to adopt innovative activities that promote bridging the gender gap in the workplace and preparing qualified leaders by attracting talented young people at an early age and training them to deal with real challenges in the market and the work environment.
Amnah Ibraheem, a researcher on nuclear energy politics from Kuwait, thanked all participants and supporters of this workshop, emphasizing the importance of organizing more constructive dialogue on the many roles of women in development that will have a lasting impact for women and society at large.
Additionally, Mrs. Allison Critcher, researcher and conference organizer from of the University of Tennessee, added that the valuable information and experience gained at this conference will serve her both as a political scientist and as a teacher focused on the Middle East. Additionally, she expressed confidence that the knowledge gained by all during the conference will contribute to cultural and scientific rapprochement regionally and internationally.