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HomeIn focusBahrain is the top MENA country in closing the gender gap

Bahrain is the top MENA country in closing the gender gap

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Bahrain leads the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in increasing the percentage of ministerial positions held by women. This key achievement has contributed to the kingdom emerging as the most improving country in the MENA region in terms of closing the gender gap. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2023, this notable accomplishment is demonstrated by Bahrain’s impressive advancement of 18 positions globally, highlighting the significant strides made in empowering Bahraini women and their pivotal role in the kingdom’s economic development.

The Global Gender Gap Report is an annual assessment that evaluates gender equality across various parameters, including economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The 17th edition of the report published last month benchmarks gender parity across 146 countries, providing a basis for robust crosscountry analysis.

“In terms of ministerial positions held by women, only Tunisia, Bahrain and Morocco have more than 20pc female ministers, while Saudi Arabia and Lebanon continue to have an all-male cabinet,” said the report.

The number of female ministers in the cabinet, led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, increased from one to five last year. The ministers are – Dr Jaleela Al Sayyed (Health), Amna Al Romaihi (Housing and Urban Planning), Noor Al Khulaif (Sustainable Development), Fatima Al Sairafi (Tourism) and Rawan bint Najeeb Tawfiqi (Youth Affairs).

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Yet another pillar that contributed to Bahrain’s merit is the increased representation of women holding parliamentary positions, further promoting gender equality in the nation’s political landscape.

In the legislative body, the number of women in the Parliament has increased by 33.33pc last year. The highest number of women candidates was also recorded in last year’s national elections, with a 50pc increase from previous years. In the Shura Council women make up 25pc of the total number of members. The report also commended Bahrain’s commendable progress in enhancing wage parity, ensuring fair remuneration for both men and women. Bahrain’s commitment to these initiatives has propelled its remarkable progress in closing the gender gap, setting a positive example for the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Bahrain also sustained its top position in the region in literacy rate as well as that in the secondary and tertiary education rates.

“The MENA is at 95.9pc parity on the Educational Attainment subindex, and Israel is the only country in the region to have full parity,” said the report. “Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan come close, with more than 99pc gender parity. Only four countries (Israel, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan) have more than 99pc parity in literacy rate. Seven countries achieve parity in secondary education and 10 countries in tertiary education,” it added.

WEF’s annual Global Gender Gap Report is the longest-standing index tracking the progress of numerous countries’ efforts towards closing the gaps over time since its inception in 2006.

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