This paper analyzes the complex processes that have been shaping the increased involvement of Bahraini women in politics, especially their share in elected political offices as MPs. Looking back at the unprecedented rise of female MPs in electoral polls in 2018, this research examines the last two decades of female progress in politics and looks in depth at the contributing factors. Using the initial factors established through a literature review, it examines their relevance in the Bahraini political environment, and establishes additional factors peculiar to the kingdom. The role of women is interwoven with political liberalization reforms in the first decade of the twenty-first century, but it was also shaped by the current events, namely, the popular uprising of 2011. The uprising was ultimately contained; yet, the authoritarian upgrading that followed paradoxically created opportunities for greater women’s engagement in electoral politics. The case of Bahrain sheds light on how sectarianism, popular uprisings, and authoritarianism affect women’s position in electoral politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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