After years of political repression and civil unrest, Bahrain, a small nation of islands located in the Persian Gulf, is gradually taking steps towards reform.
Bahrain became a constitutional monarchy in 2001 when the ruling Sunni Muslim family conceded a vote to the marginalized Shia Muslim majority to establish a parliament. The first democratic elections since 1975 were held in 2002. This election marked the first time that Bahraini women were permitted to vote and stand for election.
Taking advantage of this critical moment in Bahrain's political development, a group of Shia women formed the Bahrain Women Society in order to expand the role of women in the public sphere. In preparation for the upcoming elections, BWS initiated the Woman Launch Project. This project is educating and training women to be active participants and leaders in the new political system and in society at large.
BWS also provides support to mothers and their children through innovative programs such as the Be Free project, the first of its kind in the region, which works to address and prevent the sexual abuse of children.
Want to Change the World?