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Riding message home

March 13 - 19, 2019
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Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille




Gulf Weekly Riding message home

PURPLE-CLAD female bikers revved their choppers in unison on Friday and rode through the kingdom in a bid to mark International Women’s Day, a global drive celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The March movement, which has been staged for more than a century, is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action towards gender equality, ending discrimination as well as tackling other issues revolving around women rights.

Priya Shankar, the Ladies of Bahrain HOG Chapter Officer, helped organise a rally and special ride to show solidarity to the movement. Around 20 women gathered outside Harley Davidson’s showroom in Budaiya dressed in purple, the colour symbolising womanhood, and rode off into the sunset to showcase their sisterhood.

“I believe empowered women empower other women,” said proud Priya. “Keeping it honest and keeping it real is what it’s all about. It’s about being happy, self-confident, self-aware and resilient.

“What we’re doing right now is extremely fun and it’s a really great community to be a part of and also, we can help inspire other women. So I think, as long as we keep on the same track, only good things are going to happen.

“There was nothing better than seeing ladies leading the ride for this great awareness journey and hearing the pipes rumbling in the cool weather for a more gender-balanced world.

“All bikers and passengers were welcome to join the ride – wives, friends, colleagues and children. Everyone gathered together in the morning for a quick safety brief then, with most of the participants dressed in purple striking the pose, we set off on our journey.”

The purple parade ended at Melissa’s Emporium in Budaiya for a breakfast gathering and the women’s meals were sponsored by the restaurant.

Other events to mark the occasion took place around the kingdom. The Rotary Club of Adliya, in collaboration with the Women’s Crisis Care International (WCCI), held a 3km walkathon at Dohat Arad Park to highlight and raise awareness of the horrors of domestic violence.

More than 100 people, including students from various schools, as well as US ambassador Justin Siberell and his family, stepped out in support.

“I feel that celebrating Women’s Day is important because it is a day to commemorate the inspiring role of women in our society; those women who helped secure our rights,” said Amal Almoayyed, a board member of the WCCI.

“It is to celebrate the success of women across the globe and to express our love and gratitude towards women’s contribution to our lives and society. It’s also a day to hear the voices of many women that go unheard. This day is for honouring women who have struggled to bring up womanhood to the glorious level it is now, breaking all barriers and achieving success in every sphere.”

Proceeds from the walkathon will be donated to WCCI in Bahrain.

The day originally started back in 1908 when oppression and inequality spurred women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. It started with 15,000 women marching through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. 

In 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was observed across the US in February and then in 1910, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen where Clara Zetkin, the leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day to press for their demands. The UN began celebrating the day in 1975 and today it is a public holiday in some countries and in some places it is a day of protest, while other locations use that day to celebrate womanhood.







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