Friday, October 21, 2011

Women in Bahrain (a normal day)...

Usually the West tends to have a misconception of what is life for Arab, and Muslim, women within their own countries. There is the general idea that Arab, and Muslim, women are mistreated and living under the oppression of a feudal, and rather chauvinistic, non egalitarian society.

Women in Arab, and Islamic, societies and countries are not generally mistreated, and subjugated, as it is generally believed in the West. Au contraire they enjoy a very special place in society.

Let us know the first hand account of a Bahraini woman (Ms. Alnuaimi) about what is life like for women in her country, through a series of questions. Lines below you will see the unedited version of the questionnaire.

1-What is a normal life in the day of normal Bahraini women?

A-It is definitely like any day in the world the worker women would take off to work early morning and the housewives would stay home looking after their kids and their selves. Women in the gulf are well pampered and respected as you know the most pampered women in the world lives in the Arabian Gulf!

2-Are you allowed to drive in Bahrain?

A-Yes, since the 1950s.

3-What are the latest Fatwas edicted by the king protecting women rights and equality in Bahrain society?

A-Women’s political rights have been a cornerstone of the political reforms initiated by King Hamad with for the first time women being given the right to vote and stand as candidates in national elections after the constitution was amended in 2002.

4-What are the cultural traits of Bahraini culture that empower women?

A-In regard to Bahraini culture and Islam women are well respected in society, that adds an extra quality of life most of the western women lack. This aura around our women of Arabia gives women comfort, and extra protection, domestic, social and sexual abuses are high in the Western world in comparison to our countries due to the boundaries, cultural costumes and norms in our society as well as the alcohol consumption trends in the west that differs here, our culture is more preserved and protective in favor of women.

5-How women can help to the growth of Bahrain in the present world economy?

A- The Bahraini women today is cable of holding high ranking positions in the kingdom, including economic jobs. Women stepped forward into the economic world. They empowered our economy by introducing variability, and by forming the Bahrain's businesswomen society.

6-Are any woman occupying a position of importance at the government? (Ambassadors, Secretaries, etc)

A-In 2004, Bahrain appointed its first female minister, Dr Nada Haffadh to the position of Health Minister, and in 2005, Dr Fatima Albalooshi, the second woman minister was appointed to the cabinet. In April 2005, Shura member Alees Samaan became the first woman to chair a parliamentary session in the Arab world when she chaired the Shura Council. The head of the main women's organization, the Supreme Council for Women, Ms Lulwa Al Awadhi, has been given the title of 'honorary cabinet minister. In June 2006, Bahrain was elected head of the United Nations General Assembly, and used the honour to appoint Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa as the Assembly's President, making her the first Middle Eastern woman and only the third woman in history to take over the post. Several women's rights activists have become political personalities in Bahrain in their own right, or even gain international recognition, such as Ghada Jamsheer, who was named by Forbes magazine as one of the "ten most powerful and effective women in the Arab world" in May 2006.

7-What the West can learn and apply themselves about how women place in Arab societies?

A-Women should be treated equally with their rights preserved yet should be treated differently in respect to their feminine nature women are delicate and should be treated this way. The west needs to appreciate women delicacy more as we do!

8-What current education programs Bahrain government has to promote women higher education jobs?

A-Education is totally free to high school level for both genders. In regard of higher educational levels, Bahraini have the advantage of the reduced costs at the university of Bahrain, and not to forget the role of the private colleges and scholarships provided by the Bahraini ministry of education abroad and inside the country as they have all contributed to advance higher educational levels as well providing better jobs opportunities for women.

9-How women can help to create a more united Bahrain

A-Women are half of the society world wide. Women are the leading educators of the new generations towards more unity and peace. In Bahrain women can save us from sectarians and sub divisions specially after 14feb events by educating the children love and understanding disregarding ethnicity and religious backgrounds.

10-How the contact with the West has changed local Bahraini women cultural customs?

A-Bahraini and Arabian Gulf women in general are good consumers of the world top fine brands clothing producers and designers, however, we are still attached to our traditional costumes in some occasions! There are a variety of choices in the appearances of women of Arabia as most of them nowadays take the style option of an oriental-westernized mixed style!

Questionnaire answered by Ms. Alnuaimi, a Bahraini woman.
Picture courtesy of Google Maps.