Bahraini women finally making mark on political scene
Vol XXVII NO. 36 Sunday 25 April 2004
By AMIRA AL HUSSAINI
Women, the better half of society, finally make their mark on the political scene in Bahrain with the appointment of Dr Nada Abbas Haffadh as Health Minister.
This recognition is long overdue and to be frank, is rather belated, considering that formal education for girls was introduced in 1928.
In fact, the first Bahraini women to get a formal education had to wake up at dawn and walk to the nearby American Mission School, Manama, about 20 years before this date.
A quick calculation shows that it has taken women about 100 years to climb the corporate ladder and reach the pinnacle of the civil service hierarchy! Nevertheless, better late than never.
Thank God, we have another clear-cut job for us which doesn't take a century to qualify for - and that is baby-sitting all those men with big moustaches and pumped up muscles.
On a serious note, women have worked alongside men in making Bahrain what it is today and it is only just that the day has finally come when a woman sits alongside her peers in the Cabinet to draw up plans for a better Bahrain and make decisions which affect both men and women.
I hope all men out there won't think that the charismatic Dr Haffadh is only a pretty face to look at because her appointment is truly a dream come true for women in Bahrain.
Having a woman minister means that Bahrain has finally started grasping the fact that society is made up of men and women and both could be relied on to serve its interests.
The only concern is that Dr Haffadh will be expected to prove herself every step of the way, just because she is a woman.
She will have to work harder than all the other ministers to ensure that a woman can become a minister - and a successful minister too. Just because she is a woman, her every single move and smile will be scrutinised.
And as the first woman minister with a portfolio, she will also be expected to make it work - simply because she is the first to shoulder such a post and her success could determine whether or not more women ministers will follow.
To Dr Haffadh and all the other women who will follow in her footsteps, I have one thing to say: The recipe to success is easy.
Dr Haffadh can bank on her experience, knowledge and, of course, the all-powerful X chromosome, women have inherited and passed on from one successful matriarchal generation to the other.
No matter what men say, women have amazing organisational skills (we can walk and talk on the telephone at the same time); a sixth sense that is never wrong (especially if there is something fishy) and foresight (even without using the skills of a clairvoyant).
Women can also withstand pressure and have the resolve to make things work - even when men say they won't.
To all the pessimists out there: from now on, it is an onward march for women and the sky is the limit.