MORE than 5,800 job vacancies in the public and private sector will be offered to unemployed Bahraini women at a job and training exhibition opening on Monday.
The minimum wage offered will be BD400 for university graduates and BD250 for undergraduates.
Around 3,000 unemployed women have been invited to attend the event, which is the first of its kind in Bahrain.
Women represent 75 per cent of job seekers in Bahrain, with national unemployment at 4pc.
The Job and Training Exhibition for Unemployed Bahraini Women is being held under patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad and the chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women.
The three-day event has been organised by the supreme council.
Seventy-two companies and 12 training institutes, as well as the Labour and Social Development ministries are participating in the exhibition.
Out of a total of 5,832 job vacancies to be offered at the event, 2,053 are newly created, while 3,663 are existing opportunities and the other 116 are for those with special needs.
A total of 2050 jobs are being offered by the 72 participating companies, while the remaining vacancies are within the Labour Ministry and other companies not at the event.
In addition to offering jobs and training at the exhibition, women wishing to start up their own businesses will also be given help and access to small loans.
A BD1 million fund provided by Tamkeen will be available through the Ibda'a (Creativity) Bank to women needing microfinance for business ventures.
"This is the Ministry of Labour's eighth job fair, but we have made this one specifically for women because we found ourselves faced with women representing 75pc of the unemployed," Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi said at a Press conference held at the Supreme Council for Women in Riffa yesterday.
"We found that university graduates represent 55pc of the total unemployed.
"This event will help Bahrainisation, which is a pillar of our civilisation.
"To help increase female employment we have brought in a rule that every women hired will count as if the company is employing two Bahrainis."
He said the exhibition was expected to be a one-off event, although similar ones may be held in following years.
The exhibition will be held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Sanabis, from Monday to Wednesday.
It will be opened by Princess Sabeeka at 10am on Monday and close at 3pm. On Tuesday and Wednesday it will be open from 9am to 2pm.
In addition to the exhibition there will be an opportunity for unemployed women to meet Princess Sabeeka and discuss their unemployment situations on Wednesday at 12.30 noon.
At the meeting, female entrepreneurs and those in employment will present their success stories.
Supreme Council for Women general-secretary Dr Lulwa Al Awadhi said the exhibition was spearheaded by Princess Sabeeka to identify the reasons behind female unemployment and to determine the job and training opportunities available to them.
"Princess Sabeeka is committed to ensuring the status of women and their involvement in the economic and social growth of the country," she said.
"The exhibition is an opportunity for unemployed women to gather under one roof to have a one to one conversation with the concerned authorities and the public sector to discuss jobs and training opportunities."
She said a survey would be conducted at the exhibition to identify the reasons for high unemployment among women and the jobs available.
The results of the survey would then be compared to the official unemployment statistics.
"It is worth noting that the results of a survey conducted by the Organisation for Arab Women regarding the economic abilities of Arab women had shown that programmes and projects aimed at improving the status of women in Arab countries had been successful," she said.
"The results had also encouraged decision makers to realise the important contribution women had made to the economic development of their countries.
"We are sure this exhibition will help contribute to the National Strategy for the Development of Bahraini Women."