In 2017, 100% of births were attended by skilled health professionals (6). This could be attributed as to why the maternal death rate is low, with 14 maternal deaths per 100,00 live births (6). In 2018 the adolescent birth rate was 12.5 per 100,000 women aged 15 to 19 (6). Bahrain has 18 hospitals, and there are only 28.1 hospital beds per 10,000 population (6). There is evidence of poor nutrition, with 36% of non-pregnant women suffering from anaemia (6), and 70% of women being overweight (6).
Many women are actively involved with their education, with a literacy rate of 97.5% compared to 94.95 of men (3). Only 1.2% of girls are not in school (4). However, 32% of children at late primary age were not proficient in reading, and 31% of children do not receive the minimum proficiency at the end of primary school (4). Furthermore, despite women making up 67% of students at the University of Bahrain in 2007, they were only allowed to study textile subjects such as art and design, whilst technical subjects were only open to male students (2).
Bahrain was the first nation to grant universal female suffrage in 2002, and by the 2006 elections 16 female candidates ran for the Council of Representatives and 50.2% of voters were female (2). However, only 39 female candidates ran in the 2018 parliamentary elections compared to 330 men (2). In the same year, Bahraini citizens elected 6 women to the lower levels of parliament. This doubled their previous number and set a record for an all time high of elected female representatives in the nation (2).
Violence against women
Records of domestic abuse against Bahraini women are high, making up 75% of legal domestic violence cases in 2015 (5). In 2021, a survey revealed that 49% of the women surveyed had suffered some form of violence, 92% of this violence involved being beaten, and 28% being struggled (5). There were 114 cases of psychological violence in 2019 compared to 57 in 2020, but this could be due to a lack of reporting due to COVID-19 (5).
Before it was shut down in 2016 due to a lack of government funding, the Women's legal support department in the women's union received over 100 cases per year (5). Its closure could explain why reports into domestic violence have shown that most victims find it difficult in knowing who to talk to (5). Bahrain has joined the convention of the elimination of the discrimination agasint women, but has changed some of the articles so that they are still in line with sharia law (5). If a man assaults a woman, the consequences are a few days in jail, a fine to pay, and then he is free to leave (5).
Women at work
Of the 20% of young people that are unemployed, women make up 63% of this number (1). This could be impacted by the fact that 82% of jobs go to foreigners (1). The average gender pay gap is better in the public sector than the private sector, standing at 13.5% compared to 44.4% in the private sector (1).