Bahrain’s Women Pioneers: Dr. Bahiya Al-Jishi

March 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Some of Bahrain’s most impressive and influential women were those who used a variety of mediums to promote democracy and the improvement of women’s rights. They skillfully utilized their roles as leaders in the community to address the public and show other aspiring women that their involvement was not only possible, but also encouraged.

One such woman is Dr. Bahiya Al-Jishi, a high-esteemed broadcast reporter, advocate for women and family rights and member of Bahrain’s Shura Council. Al-Jishi began her career working in the media. She spent up to eight years working in broadcast television as a reporter and producer for Bahrain Broadcasting and BBC Arabic Service.

Al-Jishi understood the power of media and the way in which it can be used to transcend boundaries and promote democracy through the exchange of ideas. She explored her interest in media and how it is linked to improving civic engagement through her continued education and participation in various organizations. Al-Jishi obtained her Doctorate in Education and Education Media from Boston University, in the United States. She was also involved in multiple organizations that addressed the development of children and women and the use of media.

In addition, Al-Jishi was heavily involved in Bahraini politics. In 2000, Dr. Bahiya participated in the committee that drafted the National Action Charter. That same year, she became a member in Bahrain’s Shura Council and stayed through the 2004 and 2006 terms. Al-Jishi was the Council’s Second Deputy Chairperson, which had an impact on the role women played in politics throughout the region. While in parliament, Al-Jishi also served as a member of Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Women after it was established in 2002. She assisted the organization in fighting for women’s increased participation in politics.

Al-Jishi used her influential role as Second Deputy Chairperson to fight for the implementation of UN resolutions and MPs’ relations with the United Nations.  In order to ensure that MPs were informed and up to date with the UN resolutions, she worked for the establishment of ad-hoc parliamentary panels.

Last December, Dr. Al-Jishi represented the Kingdom of Bahrain at a UN General Assembly meeting in New York where she used her time to address the importance of empowering Bahraini youth and helping their professional development so that they may actualize their goals and compete in the Labor Market.

Over the course of her career, Al-Jishi developed as a leader for women in Bahrain and throughout the Arab World. She used whatever resources she could to change legislation and provide women and youth a greater role in politics, the economy and the media. She has paved a new path, one in which we should all acknowledge and praise.

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