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Women must play right political cards

Vol XXVIII NO. 300

14 January 2006

Hurray! With 10 months to go for the parliamentary elections, a woman has already voiced her plans to run the race - against an Islamic fundamentalist, that is. As much as I adore the courage shown by women's rights activist Mariam Al Rowaie, the last election has proved to us without doubt that bearded men fared better than those who prefer a clean shave.

And women? Well, out of the eight women candidates, not all are blessed with facial hair and not a single one won a seat, making me wonder whether we as a Bahraini nation are more prejudiced towards body hair.

While the constitution gives men and women equal political rights, society has seriously undermined the democratic reforms by unilaterally deciding that only men get the votes and the right to join the legislative branch of governance.

It has automatically alienated half of society, leaving issues of concern to women and families away from the debating floor.

Yes, some people may argue that women have made some hard-won gains, thanks to the direct intervention of parliament.

We now have veiled women driving cars on our roads and this was only possible because the issue was raised and rubber-stamped by the 40-man strong parliament.

Too bad, women cannot go to women-only classes at Bahrain University, female patients cannot be seen by women doctors only and girls cannot shop in women-only malls.

But there is always hope that these issues can still be debated and approved by parliament, if hardliners get their way again and the silent majority continues in its hibernation.

If you want a blunt opinion, the truth is that parliament does not reflect society and doesn't give outsiders or even Bahrainis for that matter a true picture of the real Bahrain.

But the fact also remains that it is our own doing. Not enough women stood for the last elections for many reasons - the very same reasons why some competent men shied away from ridiculing themselves and standing for an election they knew before hand they would not win.

If you are a believer in the theory of probability, then you know as much as I do, that if enough women join the race, there are likely to be some who will make it to the finish line. Let's see how many women play their cards right this year.


Well, unfortunately our society is getting more secterian and more directed by clergy on both suni and shai. In the next election only the clergy or those endosed by them will make it to the parliment. So expect more bearded men some of them with short "thobs". It is like nobody thinks for himself any more and every one waits for his religious leader to till him who to vote! I hope some women will make it in the next parilment but I know that it is just a hope.

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Posted by: Magdu | 08/07/2006

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Posted by: Blog | 25/01/2007

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