- Born in Muharraq in the palace of her paternal grandfather, the late Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa. She was brought up in Riffa in the care of her maternal grandfather. Her mother Shaikha Fatima bint Salman Al Khalifa is the eldest daughter of His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the former Ruler of Bahrain.
- Her Royal Highness got married to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in 1968. They have four children (three sons and one daughter) and ten grandchildren (Six grandsons and four granddaughters). Their eldest son is His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Bahrain Defence Force, who was born in October 1969.
- Her Royal Highness studied in Bahraini Schools and attended several speicialised courses in the United Kingdom.
Honors and Awards
- Her Royal Highness was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences by the China Women’s College, in appreciation of her active role in promoting women’s rights and welfare.
- Her Royal Highness was awarded the Ahmed Al Fateh medal by His Majesty the King in appreciation of Her Royal Highness’s efforts towards the development and progress of Bahraini women in various fields.
- Her Royal Highness was awarded the Shaikh Isa First Class Order by His Majesty the King.
- Granted the award of the Arab Towns Organization for Her Royal Highness’s efforts towards empowering Bahraini women, and her continued interest in protecting the environment and spreading greenery.
The First Lady
- Since her marriage, Her Royal Highness has launched and overseen several initiatives to enhance the quality of life of Bahraini families with limited income or special needs to ensure further stability and social security.
- As the First Lady, Her Royal Highness focuses on several important issues, including the participation of women in the development process and in enhancing projects aiming to assist families with limited income to diversify their sources of income, particularly in the area of handicrafts. Other areas of focus are youth and childhood, combating human trafficking, as well as peace and social security. She has also taken an interest in developing and preserving the environment and agricultural sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- Her Royal Highness presides over the Supreme Council for Women which was established in 2001 by Amiri Decree No. 44. The Council is the official reference for women’s activities and actions in the Kingdom of Bahrain and is primarily concerned with formulating the national strategy and general policies related to enhancing the role of women in several areas. www.scw.bh
On the Social Level
- Her Royal Highness is the honorary president of several charitable societies such as the UCO Parents Care Centre, and the Bahrain Cancer Society. Her Royal Highness is keen on providing support to their activities in order to enhance the quality of services provided to all sectors of the society.
Empowerment of Bahraini Women
Her Royal Highness contributed towards national efforts to empower Bahraini women and ensure mainstreaming their needs to act as equal partners in building their future through:
- Formulating the National Strategy for the Advancement of Bahraini Women by the Supreme Council for Women which was later adopted by the Head of State His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as the official work document for the Supreme Council for Women.
- Launching the first women’s political empowerment program of its kind in the Arab region in 2006 that sought to motivate people in Bahrain and support women through a series of workshops, training programmes and consultations to support their participation in public matters while supporting them to be politically active as well.
- Establishing the Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Award for Empowering Bahraini Women which aims to encourage ministries and private establishments to empower Bahraini working women, integrate them into national development programs to reach decision-making positions, while consolidating a policy that does not discriminate against women.
- Her Royal Highness chairs the Higher National Committee ensuring the implementation of the Bahraini model for mainstreaming women’s needs in the government action plan. The follow-up committee has adopted a national plan that includes procedures for the implementation of gender sensitive budgeting and the establishment of equal opportunities units in official institutions. The units aim at creating equal job opportunities for both men and women in programmes, projects and services provided by the government.
- Patron of an initiative which aims to encourage and highlight the exceptional efforts and qualifications of young women in the field of entrepreneurship, spread the culture of leadership amongst young women, and inspire the spirit of creativity and innovation entitled the Bahraini Female Entrepreneur Honor Seal. It is bestowed upon women who contribute to the development of the national economy through their management role in a private sector company and the fulfillment of the company’s corporate social responsibility commitment.
- Launching the Economic Empowerment program for Bahraini Women which aims at decreasing the percentage of unemployment for Bahraini women, empowering women to run private businesses and increase the participation of women in the national economy. Her Royal Highness has given her blessing towards the establishment of Ibdaa Bank, a micro-financing bank formed as an initiative of His Royal Highness Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, President of the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND). The bank works to encourage low income individuals to establish economic projects that aim to contribute towards further family stability. Her Royal Highness has also launched a fund that was created in cooperation with the Supreme Council for Women, Labor Fund (Tamkeen) and Ibdaa Bank in the amount of BD 2 million to empower women economically.
- Concerned with the execution of the Family Stability programme for Bahraini women which aims at providing safety and security to Bahraini families. As a result of this programme many children of Bahraini women married to non- Bahrainis were provided the nationality following a request by the Supreme Council for Women to His Majesty the King, in addition to issuing the first decree giving Bahraini women the right to apply for housing services from the Ministry of Housing.
- Her Royal Highness also closely monitors the activities and programs of women societies in the country and through the Supreme Council for Women seeks to broaden and enhance cooperation in the issues related to women and family.
- Her Royal Highness has also shown interest in advancing the role of young men and women in formulating future strategies and providing them with the adequate qualifications as future leaders of women’s issues. This is reflected in the establishment of the Youth Committee at the Supreme Council for Women. As President of the Arab Women Organization (2005 – 2007), she oversaw the issuance of the first ever Arab Youth Strategy to support Arab women as partners in the nation-building process and addressing the challenges and problems facing Arab women from the perspective of supporting the principles of belonging and nationalism.
Environment, Wildlife and Greenery
- Her Royal Highness established the National Initiative for Agricultural Development in the Kingdom of Bahrain with the aim to unify the efforts of the agricultural sector in order to further develop it economically, socially and environmentally.
- Her Royal Highness encourages the preservation of the environment and greenery in the Kingdom through her patronage of numerous programs and exhibitions concerned with these issues. On a yearly basis Her Royal Highness inaugurates the Bahrain International Garden Show which has been developed to become a specialized exhibition according to international standards with the objective of attracting agricultural experts in order to bring back the agricultural image Bahrain has been known for. www.niadbh.com.
- Her Royal Highness inaugurates a number of cultural events in the Kingdom of Bahrain in support of official and civil cultural activities in the country. She has also supported a number of cultural projects such the Pearling Trail Project in Muharraq, one of the Ministry of Culture projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
On the Arab and International Level
- Her Royal Highness is keen on taking part in specialized conferences and on following the agendas of organizations dealing with women’s issues. Her participation alongside world leaders at the United Nations special session on children in 2002 was given outstanding Arab and International attention that reflected the advanced status of women and children in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- Participated in a number of international initiatives that promote the role of women in peace, particularly those that are related to the contribution of women as basic partners in peace negotiations. Her Royal Highness also joined these initiatives to implement their objectives from the perspective of women as mothers and care-givers for future generations. As the President of the Supreme Council for Women, Her Royal Highness oversees the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national efforts towards creating a culture of tolerance and justice among the youth as part of the role of Bahraini women in this regard.
- Her Royal Highness has always been keen on overseeing the implementation of the outcomes of international agreements committed by the Kingdom of Bahrain with regards to combating human trafficking and more specifically the status of foreign workers in the Kingdom of Bahrain in cooperation with all government and civil organizations, and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry to improve the conditions of foreign workers in the country and to raise awareness among the citizens and residents about other issues, such as trafficking in children, women and others.
- Her Royal Highness presided over the second session of the Arab Women Organization (2005-2007). During her tenure, the organization has made commendable contributions in its support to Arab women through her presidency of the first conference of the Arab Women Organisation. This conference is considered the first of its kind in monitoring the recommendations issued by intellectual forums held by the Arab Women Summit (2000 – 2001). The Arab Women Organisation considers the summit as the foundation for a number of programmes and projects which it seeks to implement. www.arabwomenorg.org
Hobbies and Personal Interests of Her Royal Highness
Modern Sciences and Technology
- Her Royal Highness is particularly interested in promoting modern sciences and technology and in encouraging scientific research. She has funded the electronic library of the Arab Women Organization which seeks to help researchers on issues related to women and provide them with relevant information on advanced experiences in other countries. http://elibrary.arabwomenorg.com
Bahraini Arts and Heritage
- Her Royal Highness has great interest in Bahrain’s cultural and artistic heritage. She is an active advocate for the preservation of the historic Bahraini architecture which represents great national value. Her Royal Highness is known for her artistic talent as it is evident in her unique artwork.
- Her Royal Highness has considerable experience and ability in the identification of thoroughbred pedigrees of Arabian horses. Her Royal Highness’ efforts and dedication to maintain breed purity contributed to classifying Bahrain as one of the first countries that protects those breeds, by the International Organization for Arabian Horses.