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Gulf Daily News
Sunday, 1st February 2015
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11
Top industry role
for women urged
By LAALA KASHEF ALGHATA
TRUE gender equality
can only be realised if
more emphasis is placed
on women occupying top
leadership roles within
Bahrain’s industry and
commerce sector.
This is the view of Bahrain Businesswomen’s Society president Ahlam Janahi,
who told the GDN that while
great strides have been made
empowering women in Bahrain, there are still several
areas that need work.
She said that women
struggled to get ahead in the
male-dominated world of
industry, but if they worked
hard then the law was on
their side.
“One of our country’s
main achievements has been
the empowerment of women
in business and the economy
as a whole,” she said.
“Women now form a key
part of the national economy.
“But this process is ongoing – it hasn’t been a quick
fix.”
Ms Janahi lamented the
fact that while there is a
strong cohort of businesswomen in Bahrain, there is
a relative dearth of them in
industry.
“We need more emphasis on women, because our
The GDN is proud to have partnered with UN Women to highlight its
year-long campaign to promote gender equality. This is the first in a
series of articles being published to mark the 20th anniversary of the
Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing
n Ms Janahi
observations of the market
show that they are not highly
involved in industry,” she said.
“Women in top positions
are normally employed in retail and work for international
brands, in hotels, fashion or in
PR offices.
“Those are all good, but we
n The UN Women logo
still think that Bahraini women
need to be in industry as well.
“In fact, we need more industry in Bahrain full stop – and I
think the percentage of women
should increase in all fields.
“If a woman is right for the
job, she has to go for that position.
“When I look to hire a woman, I look at her CV, education,
personality and whether she deserves to be in that position.
“But I want women to be the
employers, not the employees.”
Ms Janahi said the next step
for Bahrain would be promoting more women to leadership
positions.
“The number of women in
leadership positions should increase, with more female ministers, ambassadors and board
members in different companies, both in the public and private sector,” she said.
“Even in the Shura Council
and parliament, we need to have
more women.
“Most boards of directors in
Bahrain are largely or entirely
made up of men, and we need
to have the concept of the board
change.
“We want the women to be, if
not 50/50, then at least 35/65 on
the board.”
Awareness campaigns were
also needed, Ms Janahi said, to
highlight just how many women there are in Bahrain who
are qualified to work at the top
level.
“Women have to work harder
than men to prove themselves
in places like Saudi, but I still
think that the best brain will
come out on top,” she said.
“It’s an issue for women, this
problem of how to break with
traditional thought – but they
just have to work for it.”
Meanwhile, Bahrain Business
and Professional Women
Club chairwoman Shaikha
Hind bint Salman Al Khalifa
said the issues that businesswomen in Bahrain struggle
with most are a lack of experience and financing.
“However, we have had
noticeable advancements for
women in senior banking positions,” she said.
“The biggest achievements also came in small and
medium enterprises, which
was highlighted by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa’s
award.
“Women do need more
training
and
mentorships, however.
“We have programmes
through Tamkeen as well
as through Bahrain Development Bank and everyone
can benefit from such programmes.”
As women form half of
society they shouldn’t be
limited to any one sector, according to Shaikha Hind.
“They are engineers, doctors – wherever they work,
they prove their skills,” she
said.
“The representation of
women when looking at
leading posts in the public
and private sectors is not up
to our expectations.
“Certainly I look for more
equality.”
laala@gdn.com.bh
n The Indian School pair of Harshini Karthikeyan Aiyyar and Nithin Jayadeep were the winners of the 11th Mothercare Inter-School Quiz Contest held last night at the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam
Diamond Jubilee Hall, Segaiya. The event was organised by Amicos, Bahrain-based alumni club of Mar Ivanios College, Kerala, and managed by Synergy Middle East. Six schools made it to the
finals from among 165 teams from 16 schools across Bahrain. The final was hosted by renowned Indian quiz master Derek O’Brien. Above, the winners with the cup.