Muneera named to key women’s panel

December 2, 2010

Muneera Fakhroo, an opposition leader who failed to win a seat in the lower house, has been re-appointed to the board of the Supreme Council for Women in Bahrain.

Muneera ran twice in 2006 and 2010 for the National Democratic Action Society “Waad”, but was unable to secure a seat even though on both times she forced a second round on her opponents.

However, the university professor was on Monday appointed by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa alongside 15 other women on the board of the council tasked with drawing up national strategies to elevate the status of women and empower them politically, economically and socially.

The board, a mixture of academics, businesswomen and activists, monitors and suggests legislation to help women, drafts and oversees plans to promote women, represents Bahraini women in regional and international meetings and increases local awareness about women’s rights.

Although Bahraini women have achieved international recognition, including the year-long presidency of UN general assembly, they have still to win more support from a largely conservative segment of their society.

Bahrain is one of the few countries that do not have full personal status law after Shiite scholars objected to its enactment on the grounds that only the highest Shiite authorities, such as Iraq-based Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, had such right.

Awareness campaigns

The Supreme Council for Women had launched several campaigns to promote awareness about more rights and better career-based deals for women. Its efforts to empower women politically have been strongly resisted by conservatives, resulting in no woman being elected in last month’s parliamentary elections. Only one woman won a seat to the municipal councils.

Last week, King Hamad appointed 11 women, including one Jew and one Christian, to the 40-seat upper chamber of the bicameral parliament. The government has two women ministers with the culture and social development portfolios.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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