Equality and social justice for Bahraini women

Societal development is closely linked to the cultural and social advancement of women, the extent of their contributions, and recognition of their basic rights, including their right to equality.

Women play a prominent role in the Kingdom in accordance with the constitution and national legislations. The constitution ensures women are afforded public rights and freedoms, including the right to participate in public affairs, vote, and stand for office. It also details the state’s role in supporting women balancing their family duties and their contributions to society. Their equality with men in political, social, cultural, and economic issues is also recognised without prejudice to the provisions of Islamic Sharia.

The Kingdom of Bahrain’s legal structure also recognises these rights. Legislative authorities have issued several laws that greatly contributed to the protection of women's rights, including the Family Law (PDF, 304KB, 30 pages) and the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence (PDF, 637KB, 8 pages).

In terms of international human rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), to which the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain acceded by Decree No. (5) of 2002 (PDF, 447KB, 13 pages, Arabic only), ensures that women enjoy all their rights without distinctions, exclusions, or restrictions that might undermine them in civil, political, economic, social, cultural, or other fields.

The Supreme Council for Women (SCW) "Arabic Only" was established to support and empower women and promote equal opportunities in all aspects of their lives. It serves as the main point of reference for all official bodies in matters relating to women’s affairs, specialising in disseminating opinions on matters directly or indirectly related to their position in society, proposing public policies for developing their affairs in constitutional and civil society institutions, enabling them to play an active role in public life, and integrating their efforts in comprehensive development programmes in a non-discriminatory way. The SCW has developed a national plan for the advancement of women aimed at solving the problems they face. It is a key supporter of Bahraini women, standing against violence and discrimination in Bahraini society.

Women enjoyed the right to vote and run for office in the municipal and parliamentary elections in 2002. They were also represented in the Shura Council and hold the highest positions in the public and private sectors. The SCW was established in 2001, along with several non-governmental organisations that support women, all of which help to strengthen their roles and empower them politically, economically, and socially.

Bahraini women actively participated in the reform process and sustainable development through their:

  • Representation in the two chambers of Parliament, the Council of Representatives and the Shura Council, and in the Cabinet and judiciary.
  • Prominence in diplomatic circles and in international organisations as ambassadors and members of international committees.
  • Prominence in civil society through women's and civil associations.
  • Contribution to a large section of the national workforce.


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Content Last Updated: 27 Aug, 2023

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