35 women in fray 5

Gulf Daily News
Sunday, 9th November 2014
5
35 women in fray
Email: [email protected]
Bahrain records highest level of female participation in elections
By SANDEEP SINGH GREWAL
ELECTION
candidates in the
Southern GovernorTHIRTY-FIVE women
ate’s
constituency
are contesting Bahrain’s
six (West Riffa and
Bukuwara) include
national elections this
female
hopefuls
year, with 22 running for
Nawal Ahmed Al
parliament and 13 standDossary and Layla
ing for municipal counRajab,
cils.
Constituencies six
They account for just 8.1
and 10 in Manama
per cent of the total 432 canboth have more than
didates now in the fray for
one female parlianext month’s polls, of whom
mentary candidate.
278 are seeking seats in parMasooma Hassan
liament and 154 are targeting
Abdulrahmeen and
municipal councils.
Fatima Ebrahim Al
However, it is the highest n FLASHBACK ... Social Development Minister Dr Fatima Al Balooshi, centre, celebrates with Dr Al Jowder, second from right, Ms Al Hijris, Akram are both runlevel of political participation right, and Ms Taqawi, left, after they were elected to parliament in the 2011 by-election. Right, Ms Al Dossary, left, flashes the victory sign ning in constituency
with outgoing female councillor Ms Salman during candidate registration last month
by women since Bahrain’s
six (Tashan, Jidhafs,
parliament was formed in
Musala,
Adhari,
Al
Jowder
and
Ebtisam
Hijris
–
an
area
that
covers
central
Muaccept
me
because
of
the
boycott
Governorate’s
constituency
two,
2002 and the Bahrain WomSouth Sehla and Tubli), while
were
elected
to
parliament.
harraq.
calls by opposition groups,” she covering Isa Town East.
en’s Union is hoping this
outgoing MP Dr Somaya Al
In 2006, 18 women ran for
“I think my work as a journal- said. But I am ready to contest for
year’s election will be the best
Khulood Yaseen Ebrahim bin
parliament and five for municipal ist has prepared me for the elec- a seat on the municipal council Aradi and Wathdi Al Dossary are Jowder is seeking re-election
yet for female politicians.
in constituency 10 (West Eker,
“I think there is a good council, but only Ms Al Gaoud tions, I think it is time to take the from my area, which lacks health among candidates seeking elec- Sanad and South Isa Town)
chance this election for wom- was elected unopposed for the risk,” said Ms Al Dossary.
tion to the Southern Municipal where Noora Abdulallah MaMeanwhile, independent Saba services and infrastructure.”
en candidates as a large num- first time.
tooq is also running.
Two women are also going Council.
None
of
the
eight
women
who
Al
Dossary
is
mounting
her
third
ber have come out and [email protected]
for
the
same
seat
in
the
Southern
Meanwhile,
parliamentary
contested
elections
in
2002
were
election
campaign
as
she
bids
for
inated themselves,”
successful.
a municipal council seat in Musaid its head Zainab
The Northern Gov- harraq’s constituency seven, covNajem.
ernorate has the high- ering Arad.
Only 12 women
est number of women
She has yet to win although
stood for election
participating in the she made it through to a second
in 2010 – nine for
polls with 11 (seven round vote last time out, but
parliament
and
for parliament and among her challengers this year
three for municipal
four for the munici- is fellow female candidate Amicouncils – and only
pal council), followed na Al Thawadi, who is backed by
two won, with MP
by nine in Manama the National Unity Assembly.
Latifa Al Gaoud
n Ms Al Alawi
(all for parliament),
Elsewhere
in
Muharraq,
re-elected
unopeight in Southern (five Taghreed Al Alawi is hoping to
posed for a second term and for parliament and three for the defy the odds by landing a seat in
Fatima Salman making his- municipal council), and seven a known opposition stronghold.
tory when she became Bah- in Muharraq (one for parliament
She is the first woman to ever
rain’s first female municipal and six for the municipal council. run for election in constituency
Ms Najem said the fate of six, covering Dair and Samacouncillor.
After 18 opposition MPs women standing in the Novem- heej, and hopes to capitalise on
resigned in solidarity with ber 22 polls would be a good in- an election boycott by opposition
group Al Wefaq – which has only
anti-government protesters in dicator of public sentiment.
In Muharraq’s constituency ever fielded male candidates and
2011, nine women contested
a parliamentary by-election two, Somaya Al Dossary is chal- would otherwise expect a guaranteed victory.
and three more women – lenging Ms Salman.
Both are seeking election in
“I do not know if people would
Sawsan Taqawi, Dr Somaya
2014
Tough battle for candidate
A BAHRAINI woman is going up against six
By SHAHLAA AHMED
men, including an Islamist and a former MP, as
she seeks to be elected the only female MP in Mu- er to orphans, widows and the underprivileged
harraq.
during my visits and I felt that they were facing
Reema Hilal, 35, is standing as an independent many challenges on the education, health, social
in Muharraq’s constituency four, which covers and financial levels,” she said.
Halat Abu Maher, Al Ghous Corniche and the old
“I think I am qualified enough to contest given
Muharraq suq.
the fact that I have graduated with a Bachelor’s
It is the first time she has stood for election degree in Social Service, which made me closer to
and her competition includes former
people’s sufferance.
independent MP Isa Al Kooheji, who
“I also have a Master’s degree in
is seeking re-election for a second conBusiness Management and 15 years of
secutive term, as well as a union leader
experience in charity.”
and a representative of a Sunni Islamist
However, competition for the seat is
coalition.
likely to be tough with Mr Al Kooheji,
However, Ms Hilal – who works as
senior unionist Mohammed Al Murbati
a senior social specialist at the Royal
and Coalition of National Political SociCharity Organisation (RCO) – is coneties (Al Fateh) representative Abdulla
fident of mounting a serious challenge
Al A’aynati also in the running, along
and believes voters are now more likewith independent candidates Hamad Al
ly to support candidates based on their
Mearaj, Mohammed Khayami and Maqualifications than their gender.
jed Al A’atawi.
“I am very optimistic and happy be“Some circumstances might have
cause people now choose between cann Ms Hilal
prevented women from registering for
didates after reading their resumes and
accomplishments, as well as their election cam- the upcoming elections, but I am sure that there
are many female experts and qualified women in
paigns,” she told the GDN.
Ms Hilal, who is the only female parliamenta- the governorate and we will see them in future
ry candidate in Muharraq’s eight constituencies, elections,” said Ms Hilal.
“Each of my competitors is experienced in their
says her experience of working in social services
has given her an insight into the issues facing Bah- fields and everyone is working for the country’s
benefit.
rain’s less privileged members of the community.
“I will continue playing my role in society
She now hopes to represent their concerns in
whether I win or lose. You are certainly not a loser
parliament.
“I decided to run for election after getting clos- when you are serving your country.”
`