Bahrain’s Women Pioneers: Fatima Salman

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

In 2010 Fatima Salman became the first woman to be elected to a municipal council in not only Bahrain, but also in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Salman first ran for municipal council of the Muharraq governorate in 2006. While that run was ultimately unsuccessful, the 900 votes she received, along with the support of her family and her colleagues, gave her the encouragement she needed to run again in 2010.

Not a person with great personal wealth, Salman had to sell some of her jewelry to finance her campaign in 2010. With less money than many candidates, Salman chose to focus on reaching out to people in the Muharraq community and had to forgo having a big election tent or buffet. Salman ran on a platform of hoping to upgrade and improve housing and infrastructure in Muharraq and to increase investment projects to drive more jobs for the Bahraini youth. Salman ended up winning her position in a run-off election October 30, 2010 in which she secured 52.5 percent of the votes.

Salman did not come into this role unprepared. She has more than 35 years of volunteer work and experience serving the Bahraini people in her past. Her work, and the achievement in being elected to municipal council did not go unnoticed. Salman has noted that the first person to call and congratulate her following her win was Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa. HRH Princess Sabeeka told Salman her victory was a victory for every woman in Bahrain and the Gulf.    

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