The participation of women in public life has increased over the years. They have been participating alongside men in municipal elections since the early 1930s, as indicated by historical documents that show the voting eligibility of any woman who owns property registered in her name. They also participated in the first elections for the Central Municipal Authority in 1951. Women were active participants at the time, having left a clear effect in many areas.
In the early seventies, eight women from the Children and Mothers Welfare Society, and Al Nahda Society participated in a referendum to prove the Arab identity of Bahrain, with the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in attendance.
With His Majesty the King’s ascension to the throne in 1999, four women were appointed as legislators to the first Shura Council in 2000.
Bahraini women also had a prominent and active presence in the committee that prepared the National Action Charter, which consisted of 46 members, including six women. On 24 February 2001, His Majesty the King issued Decree No. (6) for the year 2001 establishing the Committee to Draft the National Action Charter (PDF, 2 pages, 52KB, Arabic only), which included 16 members, including two women.
The year 2001 marked a milestone for Bahraini women, as the legislative amendments introduced by the National Action Charter ensured that they received their full political rights. These rights, protected by the 2002 Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain, include the right of women to run in Parliamentary and Municipal elections.
Bahrain’s Parliament elected Fawzia Zainal as speaker for the year 2018, the first woman to occupy this position. The 40 Members of Parliament active during that year included five women.
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Content Last Updated: 24 Aug, 2023