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Support or acceptance even for women in leadership positions is still very limited. For this to change, both the community and the government must work together.

The Bahraini woman has made many achievements in the last ten years. She has managed to gain many political and social rights. This gain came after a long fight led by left-wing parties and liberal movements in the nineteen fifties. However, the Bahraini woman still strives for more and her ambition is to achieve full partnership in society as an individual with equal rights and duties as men.

Bahraini women have held many leadership positions in the public sector. We have nine women in the Shura Council, which is appointed by the King and serves as a partner council for the House of Representatives in legislation. Out of those nine female members, one is the deputy speaker of the Shura Council; Jamila Ali Salman. The Parliament has six elected women and the Speaker of the House of Representatives is also a woman; Faouzia Zainal. 

This empowerment comes amidst the ongoing political crisis in the country and therefore the women who are appointed are loyal to the government, depriving women of the opposition of leadership roles in the government.

Further, given that the opposition did not participate in recent elections, the extent of women's access to parliament is inaccurate. In the 2010 parliamentary elections, for example, which witnessed the participation of opposition parties, not one woman was elected. This demonstrates that society still refuses to be represented by women in the event of real elections.

In fact, we look forward to having equal opportunities for women, regardless and despite their political affiliations. This requires work on a broad societal level to establish and raise awareness of the importance of women empowerment in all fields. Support or acceptance even for women in leadership positions is still very limited. For this to change, both the community and the government must work together.

In general, Bahrain has a good balance in the field of women's empowerment, according to official figures and statistics. For example, the percentage of Bahraini women in the labor force is 39%. The percentage has exceeded more than 50% in government sectors. Further, the percentage of women assuming leadership positions in the official agencies of the state has reached 45%, while the percentage in middle management positions has reached about 59%. These are very important achievements. But, women in Bahrain strive for more.

About the Author

Wafa Alamm

Wafa Alamm

Visiting Arab Journalist,
Journalist, Kingdom of Bahrain
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