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Shaikha Hind bint Salman Al Khalifa, Al Zayani,
Ahlam Janahi and Al Haddad.

Women power to the fore at Bahrain chamber polls

Manama, February 18, 2014

Businesswomen working together and setting aside their differences was the key to their success at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board elections, said a report.

Returning board member Afnan Al Zayani, who was the sole female director at the BCCI before the latest elections at the weekend, said she was "very happy" to be joined by three more women in the top roles.

"We worked very hard and we worked together to get to the board and I'm very happy that even when I went campaigning, though we were competing, we worked together," she told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"Though we belonged to different groups or were running as independents each of us was supporting the others. The success of one was dependent on the success of all," she noted.

Al Zayani, who ran as an independent on a platform of empowering the private sector, encouraging public-private partnerships, supporting the role of small and medium enterprises, attracting foreign investment and promoting entrepreneurial culture among young people and women, also claims to be the only candidate who set out a roadmap detailing how to achieve her objectives.

"We are very grateful to electorate for the confidence and trust they have shown by electing us," she said.

"It is very important that the business community expresses its confidence in women."

The new board, which has a healthy mix of younger candidates, experienced business leaders, men and women, is a "good combination," said Al Zayani.

Ma'akum (With You) group member Deema Al Haddad said that it was heartening to witness the oft-professed desire for a greater number of women in more powerful positions reflected in the polls. "This is the first time I ran for the board and I was lucky enough to get in," she said.

"I was happy but we sort of expected it because there was great support for women, we kept hearing people say 'we want more women on the board'."

Any number of women elected would have been counted a success, Al Haddad said, but to see a record number of four elevated to the level of director is a real achievement. "In business there is no man or woman," she said.

"We don't say 'if you are a woman, you will get a better price" for example. We make no difference.

"Perhaps we were shy before about running in these elections because it was dominated by men, but now things are changing in all areas of society with the influence of the Supreme Council for Women and other organisations.

"Women will bring to the board exactly what any man could. It does not depend on the person's gender, it depends on their character,"
stated Al Haddad.

It was initially presumed Khalid Almoayyed had been elected as BCCI chairman, but an official yesterday confirmed all board positions would be decided at its first meeting, the date of which has yet to be fixed, said the report.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry |

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