Bahraini Government Appoints First Woman Judge

Tuesday marked a significant day in the history of the Gulf region as the first woman was appointed judge in Bahrain’s government. Mona Jassem Al Kawari, a Bahraini lawyer, is also believed to be the first woman judge in the entire Gulf region. In the words of Mona herself, “This is a historic day for women in Bahrain and in the Gulf and I hope that it will be a great step forward for all women keen on making headway in a profession hitherto confined to men,” the Gulf News reports.

Al Kawari was appointed judge of the civil courts by King Hamad, who has made several reforms since the Bahraini government became a constitutional monarchy in 2001. As part of these reforms, in 2002 women received the ability to run for national office and to vote in parliamentary elections. Currently there are two women ministers in the Bahraini government and six women in the advisory council. Twenty-one women are planning to run in the parliamentary elections this year, according to the Associated Press.

Also this week, another Bahraini woman became president of the UN General Assembly. Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa, a lawyer and former ambassador, was officially elected president on Thursday. Haya Rashed was one of the first two women to practice law in Bahrain, and she has been “a champion of women’s rights in her society and in the court system”, according to the United Nations.


Associated Press 6/6/06; Gulf News 6/7/06, 6/8/06; Gulf Daily News 6/7/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 10/24/02; Khaleej Times 6/6/06; United Nations General Assembly Press Release 6/8/06

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