Dating back to her student activist days at the University of Kuwait’s National Union of Bahrain Students, Mariam Al-Rowaie’s commitment to democratization and human rights in Bahrain has endured and grown with time.
Only through great effort and perseverance can those who believe in a cause inspire change, says Mariam, who turns these principles into action at the Bahrain Women’s Union where she is a legal support assistant to victims of domestic violence. There are challenges in the work, however. Mariam says that she sometimes feels frustrated at the lack of confidence in civil society organizations and at the general lack of respect for differences of opinion in her country.
Mariam’s involvement with Vital Voices began in 2007, when the Bahrain Women’s Union and Vital Voices entered into a joint venture focused on corporate social responsibility and partnership between the private sector and civil society. Together the organizations also promoted a community program to reduce domestic violence. Today, Mariam remains an active voice for equality and democracy, through continuing involvement with Vital Voices, positions on government and NGO committees and running in Bahrain’s parliamentary elections.
Mariam hopes that women’s issues will be an integral part of the agendas of government and political organizations. “I hope that Bahrain will have made progress in adopting national legislation to ensure equality between men and women on the basis of citizenship and the authority of international conventions,” she says.