Bahrain commemorates Women’s Day on Dec. 1, by honoring women’s accomplishments and innovative contributions to Bahrain’s development and advancement since they are the backbone of society. In honor of this day, we’ll pay tribute to a few of the most accomplished female entrepreneurs, athletes, and artists whose work has empowered and served as an inspiration for many other women across the region.
Leena Al Olaimy
Leena Al Olaimy, co-founder and executive chairperson of 3BL Associates and public planet Partnerships, aims through her consultancy firms to raise awareness and increase sustainable development within the region. Al Olaimy has delivered over 200 presentations all over the world, captivating audiences like the World Economic Forum and several UN organizations. She is a leading social innovator in the Arab world and the award-winning author of Compassionate Counterterrorism: The Power of Inclusion in Fighting Fundamentalism. Her latest social venture, Symbaiosys (Trillion Tree Fund), is mobilizing conservation finance to restore 1.2 trillion trees and was awarded ‘Top Idea Stage Startup’ in the 2021 Entrepreneurship World Cup.
Bahrain-born Paralympic athlete Fatema Nedham is Bahrain’s first female Paralympian to take home a medal from the Summer Paralympics. Nedham competed for her country and won the gold medal in the women’s shot put F53 event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a throw of 4.76 meters. Additionally, she carried her nation’s flag during the 2016 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony. She also competed for Bahrain in the women’s discus throw F32-34/51-53 event at the 2008 Summer Paralympics, although she did not take home a medal.
Aisha Abdulmalik, a Bahraini jewelry designer, is the founder of Aisha Jewels. This is a jewelry manufacturer well known for its distinctive custom-made goods made by accomplished artisans from Bahrain and Milan. Abdulmalik started building her brand at the young age of 17, paying for it with her savings. She was also aided by Mashroo3i by Tamkeen which is a program that aims to empower Bahrainis who are between the ages of 16 and 30 and grants them the opportunity to bring their concepts to life. Aisha Jewels’ reputation for creativity and innovation in product development and strategic sales enabled it to achieve respectable awards including the most distinguished business in Bahrain in 2016 and Micro-Enterprise of the Year by the Bahrain Award for Entrepreneurship in 2017.
Amal Khalaf, a Bahraini-Singaporean artist, and curator of the Serpentine Galleries in London has drawn considerable attention from all over the world for her creative endeavors. Khalaf’s currently based in London but frequently travels back to the Gulf to work, primarily in the art scenes in Kuwait and Dubai. Through ArtBAB, the fair she puts on at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Manama each March, she also wants to increase chances for Bahraini artists. She accomplishes this by allowing them to show their work in addition to exposing them to fresh art through the international galleries that visit ArtBAB.
Fatima Abdul Raheem
Born in Muharraq, Bahrain, Actress Fatima Abdul Raheem began her career in the arts in the middle of the 1990s. She took part in the plays: A Very Special House, Wonders of the Past, and Sea of Tales. She continued to take part in numerous local and Gulf productions before stepping into more significant roles, especially after appearing in the television series The Agony of Yearning (2004). She received a certificate of recognition from the Dubai Film Festival for best actress for her role in the Bahraini film Marimi, and she won the Best Actress Award for a secondary role at the 10th Gulf Theater Festival for her performance in the play, Noura.
All of these women, who have raised Bahrain’s flag high in the sky, have found success in their own fields, from art to entrepreneurship to environmental advocacy. The secret to bringing about change and empowerment in the area is to follow one’s passion and dream, and they surely did that.