Bahrain plans to boost employment for women
Manama, May 20, 2013
Bahrain has chalked out details of a new plan to tackle unemployment, particularly among women, as they account for the vast majority of unemployed Bahrainis, said a senior government official.
Of the 7,718 people registered as jobless in the first quarter, 6,080 (79 per cent) were women, compared to 1,638 men, Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
This is because conservative families are preventing them accepting work in certain fields, he added.
"We had 2,429 jobs available for women only (28 per cent), while 29 per cent of jobs on offer were open to both men and women," he told a Press conference after the Cabinet's weekly meeting.
"This shows that more than half of what's being offered is open to women. But despite this there are still some conservative families that don't allow their daughters to seize opportunities."
Humaidan added that Bahrain's unemployment rate for the first quarter stood at 4 per cent.
"The total unemployment figure in Bahrain until the end of March is 7,718 individuals, with 1,638 males (21 per cent) and 6,080 females (79 per cent)," he said. "This means that the total Bahraini workforce in the private sector is 177,000, including the 7,718 unemployed individuals."
The minister reported a slight increase in the unemployment rate during the first quarter from an average of 3.8 per cent last year.
However, he claimed this did not reflect an increase in the number of people looking for work, but was a result of more benefiting from a change in the rules that allow those without a job to seek a six-month extension to their jobseekers' allowance.
The Cabinet yesterday approved an unemployment report submitted by Humaidan, which detailed new employment schemes designed to lower the jobless rate.
"To us the rate is acceptable and is by far less than that of neighbouring and developed countries, with the unemployment rate being 3.9 per cent in January, 3.8 per cent in February and 4.2 per cent in March," said Mr Humaidan.
"Oman has a 15 per cent unemployment rate, Saudi Arabia 5.5 per cent, Egypt 13.2 per cent, Tunisia 16.7 per cent, Libya 19.5 per cent, Spain 27.2 per cent, Greece 27 per cent, the US 7.6 per cent, Britain 7.8 per cent, France 10.6 per cent and the European Union 12.1 per cent."
He revealed 2,168 Bahrainis had been employed during the first quarter. "Despite the tough times the labour market has seen in the past few years, it continued to employ more Bahrainis under new opportunity initiatives," he said.
He added the number of people benefiting from unemployment allowances had increased, but attributed this to a change in the rules to help those out of work for longer.
"The numbers of newcomers benefiting from insurance against unemployment payments has jumped from 4,005 individuals in January to 4,821 in March," he said.
"This is because we have opened the door for another six months of payments, rather than force jobs on those registered as unemployed at the end of their first six months.
"This has slightly affected the unemployment rate. A decrease in the number of sacked Bahrainis is also reported, with us seeing 578 in January and 509 in March."
February was the best month for employment, with 9,450 jobs available in the ministry database.
Meanwhile, training programmes offered by the ministry increased by 74 per cent from January to March.
"We had 2,996 trainees in January, 3,952 in February and 5,207 in March - with an increase of 74 per cent from the first to the third month," he said.
"New programmes directed to university graduates were introduced with 1,214 programmes in January, 1,203 in February and 1,193 in March and the drop in number reflects that we are finishing off old programmes and are planning to introduce new batches."
He added the ministry was already supporting wages in the private sector through programmes in which employers shoulder just half of an employee's wages.
"We don't have a wages fund and the difference in payments is met through different schemes that we are regularly introducing," he said. – TradeArabia News Service