Analytical Series: Why Women’s Political Presence in Bahrain is Still Marginal

My colleague Anne Koopman and I co-authored a series of three analytical articles to explore the problem of women’s marginal role in politics in the Gulf Island of Bahrain. We have talked to politicians, activists and regular people to get a better understanding of the situation.

Since the introduction of the National Action Charter ‘Al-Meethaq’ in 2002, women and men have equal political rights in Bahrain, giving both the right to vote and actively participate in politics. However, female presence in politics is considerably low. In this series we will address the issue of low political presence in Bahrain by dividing the problem into three articles. In “Bahraini Politics: Where Are The Women?”, we will look at the political background in Bahrain and the statistics of women serving in higher positions, as well as compare the country to other Gulf States. In the second part “The Triangle of Oppression: Challenging Women’s Political Presence” we explain how the male dominant society, religious influences and lack of endorsements by political societies cause women to experience pressure to withdraw from elections or stay away from the political scene, but also to feel hesitant towards participating to begin with. In “Is There Hope For Equal Political Representation?” we show how the popular uprising in 2011, has put women’s rights on a back shelf, and the challenges for both men and women have become more similar and equal, leading to an unclear future for women in politics in Bahrain. Experts and female activists propose some solutions that could gradually improve women’s political presence in Bahrain.

Read all three articles on The Bahrain Debate:

Part I: “Bahraini Politics: Where are the Women?”

Part II: “The Bahraini Society: Challenging Women’s Political Presence”

Part III: “Is There Hope for Equal Political Representation?”

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