Since coming to power in 1999, King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain has initiated important political reforms. Whether these reforms are a sincere attempt at democratic reform or a limited appeasement of the internal opposition is the challenge at hand. A review of the recent changes in Bahrain may shed light on how this small nation can move to a stable democracy that respects the rights of all its citizens, including women. We will have to determine the nature of these reforms and whether they will concretely take Bahrain on the road to participatory democracy. The starting point of these reforms was in February 2001, when Bahrain held a plebiscite in which an overwhelming proportion of Bahrainis approved the National Action Charter, a series of wide-ranging proposals for democratic reforms.