Bahrain is first Gulf state to promote women in military

Thursday, May 13, 2004

ABU DHABI Bahrain has become the first Gulf Cooperation Council state to promote women to a senior rank in the military. Officials said Bahrain has promoted women officers in a range of administrative and non-combat roles. They said women have been recruited and promoted both in the military and Defense Ministry.

So far, two women have risen to the rank of colonel. Both serve in Bahrain's military and work as department heads.

Both of the women were physicians who have served in the Bahraini military hospital. Dr. Aisha Mubarak Jaber and Dr. Moza Rashid Ahmed joined 10 male officers in a promotion ceremony on May 11. Ms. Jaber serves as chief doctor and radiology chief while Dr. Ahmed heads the maternity department of the 400-bed facility.

"This is the first time in BDF [Bahrain Defense Force] history that we have women holding the rank of colonel," Salman Bin Atiyatallah Al Khalifa, commander of military medical services, said.

Bahrain's police has a women colonel as well. Col. Awatef Al Jishi, commander of the Women Police Directorate, reached her current rank in 2001.

Officials said women would continue to rise in the military and police hierarchy in Bahrain. But they stressed that women in the military would not play a role in combat.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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