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What are the main barriers to gender equality in the Gulf states in the political area?
Gulf women face challenges in social and cultural change of their role and involvement in the renaissance of their societies and in serving the people of their homelands. These challenges are not considered the monopoly of Gulf women, but affect the Gulf women in particular, so it can be said that these challenges have exceeded the regional Gulf and the Arab family to the area of international family. Women everywhere in one way or another suffer from difficulties and problems and face challenges and pressures which limit their ambitions and aspirations and dreams. There is no doubt that the status of women is lower than that of men everywhere and if it had not been so then women's development projects would not have become the focus point in international conferences such as the World Conference of the International Year of Women, which was held in the city of Mexico City in 1975. The stated objective of this conference is the integration of women in development as equal partners to men.
There are some problems specific to women alone in this part of the world (the Gulf); the low status of Arab women is the direct result of the general social system and the prevailing community and the nature of social structures and how the division of labour and the extent of their production process or political do not change. Therefore there are no conditions for cultural change because the habits, tribal traditions and customs of the Arab community gain legitimacy from the society. There are no doubt that all these negative cultural aspects not only disrupted the role of women but also opened the way for the emergence of many of the negative phenomena of Arab societies, especially in the Gulf.
In any case, the role of women in the political arena has become a physical presence today; women have become involved in decision-making, and occupied various positions in the political arena. Even if their roles were lower than the men's role it is progress and is constantly evolving to that we can say that Gulf women are important in politics. Gulf women have taken up many positions and participated in the political work of men like her brother under the customs and traditions of the Arab and contributed to building the society.
The women faced many difficulties in employment at the beginning but have reached what they are today, able to work efficiently and take responsibilities incumbent upon them to be able to claim full rights in all the Arab Gulf states.
Yet there are still major barriers preventing equality between men and women in political life, including
1 culture of the community: No doubt that the system of values and social traditions, which converge with the characteristics of the political culture in communities of the Gulf play an important
role and influence over the community to accept the political participation of women. These values and traditions that converge with explanations and interpretations of certain provisions of the Islamic Sharia is a constraint but the society is constrained to accept the extent from the political participation of women in the Gulf. This confirms what MPs in the National Assembly said when discussing a bill for Kuwaiti women to exercise political rights in the Council and refusing them in 1999 (20). These values and traditions have to develop a certain vision of women and their role in these communities, a vision focused on the female side of women and physiological consequences of identifying the role of women, including the nature of women, as wives and mothers is their natural home, and extended this concept to the extent of acceptance of the role of women in the political life. This means that there is a negative relationship between the society and culture of women's political participation, the social dimension of culture affects or appears more pronounced in women's political culture than that of men.
2 laws governing political rights of women: There is no doubt that women need guarantees metered under the current culture for the protection of their political rights , and if we look at the legal system of the Gulf Cooperation Council we will find that Qatar approved the right of women to vote and stand for the municipal council, and the Sultanate of Oman has approved this in the composition of the Shura Council, and it has been endorsed by Bahrain in municipal and parliamentary elections , while the rest of the Board do not take such laws, while limiting the State of Kuwait the right to vote and the election on males, and the enactment of such laws was recently in the Sultanate of Oman in 1995 while in Qatar in 1997 and Bahrain in 2001.
3 women's awareness of the cause and political culture: Political socialization plays an important role in shaping the viewpoint of women to themselves and their role in society in the Gulf Cooperation Council states, including the characteristics of the political culture in these societies. Some field studies conducted in the area of identifying a vision for the political role of women in the Gulf states societies show a high degree of compatibility between women's vision of itself and its role and the culture of the community both in terms of their role in society or to see them for their political rights, and this is what emerged from the non-candidacy of a large number of women in the elections in each of the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, as well as not to vote for women candidates.
-The solutions to these problems:
The first solution of the first problem is:
Some people misunderstood the real Islam, and some people misused the real Islam so it goes with there interests and penitents, because the real Islam didn't prevent women from there rights in deferent party, it gives them the freedom to have their independent opinion to chooses there decision's life in deferent area, but this misunderstood make the costumes and tradition role. So what we see in our society is the traditions govern, and if people realize that the tradition is the one whose responsible of this issue, they will follow the real Islam and give the woman there rights in the life and political party. There for the solutions is Increase awareness of the real Islam and differentiate between religion, and traditions and costumes, by establish this thing between public. The governments should strive to project the right image of women and their political rights. They should highlight the fact that Islam does not deny women's rights; on the contrary, it advocates gender equality
Secondly, the laws governing political rights of women problem, the equality gender doesn't only mean legal equality but also mean equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for the involvement of women in development, so the achievement of this equality requires equal access to resources solutions the authority to participate on equality, and effectively in distribution and decision-making at various levels. Achieving equality of groups long been harmed, may require compensatory activities to correct injustices common. So
In order to allow women to participate more fully in all community activities, it should be established structured social services and to continue in order to alleviate the burdens of household chores difficult. In particular, it should provide services for children, all efforts should be made to change social attitudes based mainly on education from accepting the sharing of responsibilities for home and children between men and women. It shouldn't be viewed from the perspective of women's development of social development, but should be seen as a key element in every dimension of development. Finally the government should give the woman all rights that man has in the political party.
The last solution for the last problem which is the women's awareness of the cause and political culture, the government should make the women more awareness of their rights and duties in the political field, as an example, establish centers and clubs to introduce the political awareness, so they would know there rights and duty, and encourage them to participate in the political party.
Finally, the general state of fewer privileges to women is dominating in the Arab World, which is extremely male-dominated, restrictive and conservative in its attitude towards women's role in the society. The Gulf region, in particular, is an example of how women have reconciled to inequality in the social and political sectors and at the workplace. Though working women in the GCC countries have become much more visible at airports and banks, they still face a considerable degree of inequality in the realm of legal rights.
In spite of all the difficulties, women have shown great encouragement in taking up jobs, using their educational qualifications and taking advantage of the social changes sweeping across the region. However, Gulf leaders should support and encourage them further because the GCC countries need to harness their human resources, both men and women, to achieve development, progress and prosperity. With all of these progresses if women take all there rights, I believe that they would change the society and the life. And if the men doesn't misused the real Islam and make it with there own benefit, the life would be better and every one will fake there rights and chances.
1- Gulf research center, December, 2004, Rola George Habr, Gulf Women and Political Rights.
2- Washington institute, June 28, 2005, Simon Hendrson, women in Gulf policy.
3- Us today, 5/16/2005 1:17 PM, Kuwait approves women's political rights.
4- balagh, Wednesday, 3 Marsh 2006,woman in Global.
5-goliath, 01-AUG-02, Women's political rights: Islam, status and networks in Kuwait.(Statistical Data Included), Rizzo, Helen ; Meyer, Katherine ; Ali, Yousef.
6-Saudi-us-relations, April 14, 2008, Michele Dunne .Women's Political Participation in the Gulf.
7-womenrights, March 11, 2008, Oman guarantees women equal rights, opportunities: Sharifa.
8-Middle East Partnership Initiative, 2004, 2004 Gulf Programs.
9-qantara, 09.08.2005, Women in the Gulf Exploited and Patronized