The idea of establishing a society dedicated to women in Bahrain, was born in 1967 by some Bahraini female students who were studying in Beirut and Cairo universities and who were exposed to the social and cultural changes in the Arab world at the time. In the Summer of 1967 those students disseminated the idea among their educated friends, mainly teachers and students inside the country. The response was unexpectedly encouraging.
Since its foundation, members of AWS voluntarily worked towards realizing the Society’s objectives. Their efforts resulted in achieving the following:
The Society was officially recognized on March 25, 1970 under the name of Awal Women Society (AWS), with the following objectives:
Eradication of Illiteracy among women:
Education is one of the main paths leading to women’s emancipation. Illiteracy rate, especially among women was very high during the sixties and early seventies. Official efforts were limited and mainly targeted men. The sole adult’s education activity available for women, at the time, was in Manama. Moreover, illiteracy program was not free of charge; hence it was not feasible to poor women.
It is worth noting that AWS was the first voluntary organization to launch a program for eradication of illiteracy among women. The program was free of charge and AWS members volunteered their time as teachers.
Later on, the Ministry of Education established the Adults Education Centers in the main cities and villages. AWS members cooperated actively with these efforts and continued their voluntary contribution through teaching. Moreover, some teachers were recruited by AWS to teach at its center for adult education.
AWS became member in the National Committee for the Eradication of Illiteracy, established in 1970 under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. This Committee is charged with drawing up the country’s policies and strategies in this domain.
It was noted that mothers with young children discontinue their education as they have no body to take care of their children while they are studying. AWS took the initiative of establishing free of charge evening childcare centers at two centers.
II. Family Education:
Family awareness goes hand in hand with AWS efforts to protect women’s rights. AWS efforts in family education could be summarized as follows:
III. AWS and Women’s Rights:
Increasing women’s awareness of their rights is one of AWS objectives. The following steps were undertaken in this respect:
IV. Other Activities: