On January 26, 2019 Ahdeya Ahmed Al Sayed achieved a major breakthrough for Bahraini women, being elected the first female president of the Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA). This came after a tightly fought elections contest, in which she beat her rival, Yousif Albinkhalil, editor-in-Chief of Al-Watan newspaper, among 12 original contestants. Ahdeya, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Tribune, expressed her pleasure at making history for Bahraini women and promised to use her position to strengthen the position of women in journalism.
Ahdeya is a well-known media personality, having long been a columnist and a news reader on Bahrain TV. She began her media career in 1991 working for the English language Gulf Daily News. In 2006, she was appointed as the official spokesperson for the parliamentary elections. She was previously a member of the BJA board, heading the women’s section, with additional responsibility for international and cultural relations.
With half of the newly elected BJA board being female, this is an important signal of Bahrain’s aspiration to provide equal opportunities for women. Messages of congratulations from Bahrain’s leadership demonstrate the high esteem which the BJA presidency role is held in and its significance for playing a transformational role for women journalists, the media and civil society as a whole.
Ahdeya’s victory came just weeks after another historic breakthrough for women when Fawzia Abdullah Zainal was elected as chair of Bahrain’s Parliament, following an elections contest where female candidates performed exceptionally strongly.