Jobs parity for Bahrain women urged
Manama, March 9, 2011
More women need to be employed in Bahrain's energy, transport and town planning sectors to achieve better equality, according to a senior United Nations (UN) official.
UN resident co-ordinator Sayed Aqa said women were significantly underrepresented at the National Oil and Gas Authority, the Energy Ministry and the Municipal and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
'I wish to re-emphasise that there is a lot to be done, especially at the policy level,' said Aqa.
'Governments have a responsibility to ensure that national and international research agenda and innovation priorities benefit women and men equally.'
Aqa made his comments during a Press conference to mark the 100th International Women's Day and the first International Women's Day for UN Women, at UN House, in Manama.
The event, celebrated annually on March 8, is held this year under the theme 'Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women'.
Aqa highlighted figures that showed during the fourth quarter of last year, women accounted for 32.7 per cent of the Bahraini workforce - holding 45 per cent of jobs in the public sector and 55 per cent in the private sector.
He also stressed that in the public sector, women were over-represented in the Health, Education and Social Development ministries.
However, he said more women should be enrolled in industrial or vocational training courses.
'Bahrain has made notable progress with regard to women's access to education at the primary and secondary levels, there are roughly equal numbers of male verses female students,' said Aqa.
'Female students at the secondary level specialising in science far outnumber male students.
'But females do not have access to industrial or vocational training at the secondary level, restricting their opportunities at the tertiary level,' he added.
'Female students/graduates outnumber males in universities, however they are underrepresented in vocational courses, for example at the Bahrain Training Institute.'
During yesterday's event, Bahrain and other countries were urged to remove barriers that still prevent women from gaining access to decent work - particularly in areas where they find it most difficult, such as science and technology.
'Women must be empowered to gain access to decent work through proactive measures to facilitate transition from school to work, such as job search training and gender-sensitive social protective schemes,' said Aqa, who is also UN Development Programme resident representative.
'We know as a fact that while women's share of university graduates is on the rise and in some cases, including Bahrain, higher than men, their share in the job market is significantly lower.
'This is not only a women's right issue, but a loss to human development and economic growth of nations and societies.'
Aqa said any efforts to empower women should include education and awareness that would promote them as equal partners in the development of their countries and not as commodities.
'In advertising women are devalued and UN women will hopefully take some steps to regulate these things, this is done for drugs and arms and maybe something can be done for women,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service