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Reaching higher in business, government and beyond

A skilled workforce, a strong entrepreneurial ethos. These are clear signs of a modern, liberal society able to offer businesses an environment in which they can operate smarter and more creatively.
The Bahrain government is ensuring that women’s skills and energy are part of the mix. It is constantly striving to empower women, to encourage them to contribute to nation-building and be involved politically, economically and socially.
In Bahrain, women are proving more than equal to their male counterparts and shaping Bahrain society for the better. Around 24 dedicated groups, such as the Supreme Council for Women (SCW), actively promote women’s rights and seek to elevate their status. And progress has been extraordinary.
Forbes recently marked this progress in its list of the most powerful Arab women in public positions. Three female cabinet ministers were among the top 16 and highlighted for their influence and power: Sameera Ebrahim bin Rajab, Minister of State for Information Affairs and Government’s Official Spokesperson, Dr. Fatima Al-Balushi, Minister of Social Development, and Shaikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture. The report also mentioned Dr. Bahiya Jawad Al-Jishi, Shura Council Second Deputy Chairperson, appointed chamber of the bicameral parliament.
In the private sector, too, things are changing fast:
More women than ever before are setting up their own business – the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has almost 24,000 Commercial Registrations (CRs) from women. This is 41% of the total CRs registered, compared to 38% in 2013.
The National Institute for Industrial Training (NIIT) has launched the Middle East’s first technical and industrial training programme for women in the automotive, telecommunications and engineering sectors. The first cohort of trainees is being selected with a view to employment in car sales, spare-parts sales and customer-case advisors in vehicle maintenance.
Alba (Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C.), one of Bahrain’s biggest employers, recently demonstrated its support for gender equality and empowerment of women by sponsoring the ‘Second Exhibition for Women and Labour – Opportunities and Choices’. Organised by the Ministry of Labour in cooperation with the SCW, this took place 21-23 October at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.


 IN NUMBERS - Bahraini women in senior positions:

3 ministers
1 undersecretary
12 assistant undersecretaries
5 members of parliament in both chambers – 19% of total members
17 judges
3 ambassadors
More than 35% of the workforce
Over 47% of the public sector
Hundreds of teachers, bankers, journalists and doctors