Empowering Omani women at various levels has always been the prime focus of the Ministry of Social Development and the initiatives towards this goal have brought in phenomenal results, according to an official at the ministry.
Pointing out at the achievements of Omani women, he said in the public sector women hold around 50 per cent of positions and there is a preference for jobs in the education sector, with an increasing interest in the health sector.
Today Omani women hold positions at the ministerial and other levels. Omani women are occupying senior advisory positions, 13 in Special Grade, and 261 in Grade I (equivalent to director and director general). Five women lawyers were recently appointed as attorney generals to the legislative court. Moreover, law provides women equal rights to own property and ensures gender equality.
Speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of the workshop on ‘Gender Mainstreaming’ organised by the UNFPA GCC in association with the Ministry of Social Development, Yahya bin Badr al Maawali, Under-Secretary at the Ministry, said: “Women empowerment, exploring various avenues where women can be in focus, social and economic empowerment, enabling them to shoulder bigger responsibilities and to give them an equal opportunity at various levels have been the key focal areas of the ministry.”
“To achieve the results, we have been working with our stakeholders and the results are quite evident, and today women are taking part in all comprehensive growth areas of the society,” he added.
The United Nations has recently reviewed the Sultanate’s experience in the field of women’s empowerment, including the laws and rules derived from the Basic Law of the State, celebration of Omani Women’s Day, implementation of scientific forums which discuss women’s issues, preparation of studies on women in various social, economic and legal aspects, which have clearly contributed to sustainable national development.
Jameela bint Salem al Jaddad, Director, Women’s Affairs Department, at the ministry, said that cooperation with various ministries and authorities has helped Omani women achieve their goals in various sectors such as education, health and employment, among others.
“Gender mainstreaming is a strategy to achieve gender equality. It is shorthand for saying that the impact of all policies and programmes for men and women should be considered at every stage of the policy or programme cycle — from planning to implementation and evaluation. Gender mainstreaming strategy aims at making visible the different impacts on or impact of women and men in a given context,” she said.
The ministry has adopted a Social Action Strategy for 2016-2025 aiming at providing more opportunities for Omani women towards developing the role and widening their scope of engagement in the society by providing an appropriate environment to emphasise their economic and pivotal role in the family and society and their participation in decision-making circles.
Omani women enjoy the same level of life expectancy and education on par with their male counterparts. In modern society, women’s economic participation rate is increasing rapidly, from 8.6 per cent in 1993 to 29.6 per cent in 2011. The gender mainstreaming training for senior officials was attended by about 40 senior officials from the ministry, Omani Women Association and other ministries.
Participants also discussed the ‘‘Tamkeen’’ programme launched by the ministry to empower women economically and support their participation in sustainable development.
-Oman Daily Observer