The Family in Bahrain
Bahraini society remains deeply patriarchal. The husband and father heads the nuclear family and watches over the morality of his wife and children and unmarried females in the extended family. In a divorce, the nation’s religious courts generally grant mothers custody of their daughters under age nine and their sons under age seven, at which point custody generally reverts to the father. The father retains guardianship until his children reach the age of twenty-one. Even a non-custodial father retains the right to make all legal decisions regarding his children. Women have the right to request divorce in the religious courts, but the courts can deny the request.
Shiite women may (under Shiite law) inherit property, but Sunni women, governed, in personal status matters, by Sunni Maliki law, do not. But values do change. Rapid urbanization, public education, and exposure to more liberal attitudes through modern media and travel have led Bahraini women to spend more and more time outside the house. Until recently, the country had even been a pacesetter among the Arab Gulf states in women’s education and employment. While the other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and emirates are catching up with Bahrain or – as in the case of Dubai – have apparently surpassed it in educational and vocational possibilities for women, the country still has a relatively high ratio of women in the workforce. Their presence in the private sector amounts to a mere 13 percent, but they constitute 42 percent of the public workforce. This figure is even more impressive, given that many Bahraini women stop working when they marry, leaving only a few years between graduation and marriage to be active in the job market. But even this pattern is changing: Bahraini women increasingly re-enter the workforce after having given birth.
© Copyright Notice
Click on link to view the associated photo/image:
We would like to ask you something …
Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.
The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.
In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.