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Bahrain women in tech are leading the way. What can the world learn?

  • 2 mths ago

Some may find it surprising to hear that Bahrain is a global leader in diversity in tech, but a range of figures back it up. For example, women comprise 42% of those who enrolled in STEM degrees in the last academic year, a rate that significantly outperforms countries such as the US. Around one in five startup founders in Bahrain are women, and so are almost a third of the broader ICT workforce, which is considerably higher than the global average.

When Citi decided to open their new global Tech Hub in Bahrain, they were drawn in part by the opportunity to improve diversity: Bahrain could showcase a healthy pipeline of female tech graduates. Women went on to comprise 24% of the coders they hired, significantly outperforming the average of other Citi tech hubs around the world.

What explains Bahrain’s success, and to what extent can other countries learn from it?

No stigmatization of math or science encourages more women in tech

Some reasons are organic and cultural. Girls have always done well academically in Bahrain: according to the World Bank’s Human Capital Index 2020, Bahrain is in the top five countries globally for girls outperforming boys in learning outcomes, with boys traditionally drawn more towards technical and vocational education. Unlike in many other countries, this means there is no stigma or stereotyping around the idea that “girls can’t do math and science”.

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