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The recent World Economic Forum (WEF) Gender Gap Report has named the Kingdom of Bahrain as one of the region’s best-performing countries, having closed between 65% and 63% of its overall gender gaps. This announcement has certainly brought Bahrain into the limelight!

It is interesting to note that Bahrain ranks 126th globally, before Turkey. Compared to last year, the Kingdom’s standing has improved by 5 places and is now positioned on top of the list in the MENA region, falling right after Tunisia and UAE, thus ranking it second in the GCC.

The improvement in performance is driven by changes in the methodology of calculating the estimated earned income; an update of some education data in the UNESCO dataset; and female economic participation and opportunities. The improvements were also a result of EDB’s recommendation to WEF on the methodology changes and its collaboration with the Supreme Council for Women, Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister, and Ministry of Education on updating missing data in the UNESCO database.

The Kingdom has almost closed its gender gap in educational attainment (99%) and in health and survival (96%). Whereas, economic participation (45%) and political empowerment (4%) remain areas for improvement.

However, the most encouraging aspect of the report has been the fact that Bahrain came 1st globally in closing its gender gap in:

  • Primary education enrollment rates
  • Secondary education enrollment rates
  • Tertiary education enrollment rates

Also, according to the report, Bahrain is 1st in MENA for female economic participation and opportunities. Notably, Bahrain is the 1st in GCC for the following as well:

  • Ensure wage equality for similar work
  • Estimated earned income
  • Legislators, senior officials, and managers

This report undoubtedly brings positive news to the Kingdom and reaffirms the findings of an earlier study which stated that the role of women in the development of GCC economies have immensely grown.

In addition to that, women are now playing a pivotal role in the development of Bahrain and its neighbors, as stated in the GCC Women—Entrepreneurs in a New Economy report by Al Masah Capital. The study revealed that women in GCC manage assets worth $385 billion. Where female entrepreneurs in the region increased from 4% in 2011 to 10% in 2014, narrowing the gender gap in entrepreneurial intentions. In fact, women represent 50% of the entrepreneurs in SMEs in the MENA region.

This is surely a time of great honor and pride for all women entrepreneurs and professionals in MENA region and specifically the Kingdom. As it is very important to highlight on reducing gender gaps since it has a significant benefit the society and the economy.

The number of CRs owned by women has increased immensely, in addition to having more SMEs, and startups run by women. StartUP Bahrain is proud of the Kingdom’s efforts in moving towards gender equality and honored to have all these female entrepreneurs and startups as part of its thriving ecosystem!

Want to learn more about Bahrain’s ecosystem and dynamic startups? Visit our website as we always bring you the latest news!

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

A highly driven organizing member of the StartUp Bahrain ecosystem. And a Project Manager at Matter In Hand with a passion for content creation and empowering communities.