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The Omani woman has been an essential contributor on building the Omani society. She has taken a part in the constant development of Oman as she was empowered to participate in the prosperity of this country.

The Omani woman works with passion and dedication to elevate her position in all fields of life, until she is finally pioneered scientifically and practically. The Basic Law of the State confirms the equality between men and women in Oman. Based on this principle, step by step, Omani women had equal opportunities in education, health care, job vacancies and participation in making political decisions, with no detraction to her duties towards family and society. Her role has changed from being an ordinary member in the society, into a maker of significant contributions in the Omani renaissance.

The National Strategy for Omani Women Development project (started on 2001) is a reflection of the Sultanate’s belief in empowering the Omani woman to support and enable her socially to contribute to the country's progress. Moreover, Ministerial Decision no.150/2014 was issued to form a steering committee to implement this project. The committee works on preparing a full national work plan with the membership of more than 30 members representing the concerned agencies. The National Centre of Statistics and Information has issued The Omani Women Empowerment index (Arabic only) that gives a detailed look at the indicators related to the Omani women.

 


Article (2) of the state Basic Law was allocated for women rights and a number of legislations were formed to preserve women rights in all fields of life in Oman.

The new labor law issued by the Royal Decree no.35/2003 included provisions that states equality between men and women in the field of labor in which addresses everybody as “the employee” without discriminating genders. It also paid attention to her nature as a mother and a wife by not allowing her employment in jobs that requires hard physical work or results in physical or ethical damage.

The provision in the Civil Services Law also addresses citizens as “employees,” without any gender discrimination. Moreover, Article (12) of the Basic Law provides the importance of gender equality in employment for public jobs and that women must be given 50-day, full-paid maternity leave and 180-day leave for widows. This comes besides to giving women full protection in case of pregnancy, by not allowing her expulsion or cancellation of her contract in case of absence from work for a period not exceeding six months in total.

Personal Status Law contains 282 Articles on women rights, reassuring the importance of following Sharia that commands to give women her full rights. Here are some of the law Articles and items:

 

  1. Article (10/B) allows the judge to give the ubove-18-year old girl permission to marry in case of insufficient justification for guardian refusal.
  2. Article (23) reads as: "Dowry is a women’s right to spend as she pleases, any violating condition is considered null."
  3. Item (1) of Article (37) and Article (49), obliges husbands to spend on their wives even if the wife is rich.
  4. Item (3) of Article (37), reassures a woman’s right of keeping her name after marriage.
  5. Item (4) of Article (37) reassures a woman’s right to run her personal properties as she pleases.
  6. Article (82) grants woman her right to divorce without showing her reasons as long as this right is included in the marriage contract.
  7. In other cases woman has the right to ask the judge to divorce her from her husband in the following cases:
    • Husband has a disease that is not curable within one year / Article (98).
    • Husband has not paid dowry, has not made dukhool (joining the husband in the matrimonial domicile), or in case matrimonial life is very difficult to happened / Article (101).
    • Husband is missing or have been imprisoned for a period not less than three years and a year passed since the date of the request for divorce / Article (111).
  8. The mother’s right to child custody is prior to the father’s in case of divorce / Articles (125-137).

Furthermore, the Social Security Law states that the Omani woman who has no guardian gets pensions, in certain cases, such as:

  • Divorced: who is less than 60 years old, did not get married after divorce and lacking regular income.
  • Widow: who is less than 60 years old, did not get married after her husband’s death and lacking regular income.
  • Deserted: who was been deserted by her husband for more than a year and could not access him.
  • Unmarried: who is between 18-60 years old, never got married and lacking regular income.

To read about earning social security services, please click here.

To preserve Omani women rights, Article (11) of the basic law states that: women has the absolute right of ownership and may use her properties as she pleases, weather it was real estate or moveable properties. Women also have the right of owning a governmental lands, according to royal decree no.125/2008.

In the field of health, the Directorate General of Health Affairs at the Ministry of Health had allocated a department for women called “Maternity and Child Health”. This department ensures that women and children are getting the health care they need and resolves any problems in the way of providing this care. Maternity and Pediatric health services were generalized in 1987 and provided ever since then, and they helped achieving a much lower numbers of deaths among mothers and children, as well as providing a better health care to them. The Omani woman is not a health care receiver only, as she determines to give it for those who are in need for it. In 2015, Omani women represents 49% of the Omani doctors, and 87% of the Omani nurses.

Omani women refused to live under the shades of ignorance, and went for seeking knowledge from every possible source. In accordance to her insistence, article (13) in the basic law came to grant education for both males and females, as it is fundamental for the progress and development of society. Building schools helped in raising the percentage of women attendance to school from 0% to 49% between 1972 and 2007. Moreover, “Oman 2020” vision (which has economical focus), obtains equality and equity between men and women in all fields, ln addition to developing women’s abilities to achieve the aims of “Oman 2020”. In 2004, the female students reached 48.4% and 56% of the Omani teachers were females.

Currently, all government and privet educational institutions accept female students by numbers that are close to or even greater than the numbers of males. In 2012, female students at higher education institutions represented 57%. Moreover, in the academic year 2012/2013, 9359 students out of 16675 students were females, according to the Higher Education Admission Statistics for the Academic year 2012/2013, and 56.98% of the newly enrolled higher education students were females. These higher percentages of females are not due to certain governmental preferences, but rather represent the government’s admission of the Omani women abilities, and a proof of the government’s belief in equality between men and women in all fields of life. There are no limits for the Omani women in seeking knowledge. She travels abroad to bring back new experience and more knowledge to help in developing Oman. According to the National report prepared by the National Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, in 2009, 62.5% of the Omanis studying abroad were females.

Currently, all government and privet educational institutions accept female students by numbers that are close to or even greater than the numbers of males. In 2012, female students at higher education institutions represented 57%. Moreover, in the academic year 2012/2013, 9359 students out of 16675 students were females, according to the Higher Education Admission Statistics for the Academic year 2012/2013, and 56.98% of the newly enrolled higher education students were females. These higher percentages of females are not due to certain governmental preferences, but rather represent the government’s admission of the Omani women abilities, and a proof of the government’s belief in equality between men and women in all fields of life. There are no limits for the Omani women in seeking knowledge. She travels abroad to bring back new experience and more knowledge to help in developing Oman. According to the National report prepared by the National Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, in 2009, 62.5% of the Omanis studying abroad were females.

In the field of labor, Omani women contribute in developing Oman as much as men. Many Omani women are holding many important positions that they earned worthy, and in 2000 Omani women presented 17% of the manpower in Oman. in 2015, and according to the National Center of Statistics and Information, 47% of the manpower of government sector and 22% of privet sector are women workers.

Important government positions like: Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education, Minister of Tourism, Head of the public Authority for Craft Industries and Oman’s ambassadors to USA and Netherlands (previously), are all held by women. Moreover, many Omani women work in crafts, as they have been well known for making things with palm fronds, sewing, etc.

Important government positions like: Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education, Minister of Tourism, Head of the public Authority for Craft Industries and Oman’s ambassadors to USA and Netherlands (previously), are all held by women. Moreover, many Omani women work in crafts, as they have been well known for making things with palm fronds, sewing, etc. The National Report of the Sultanate for 2009 says that: In 2008, 15 women are working as chancellors, 13 as director general, 2 as ambassadors, 5 as deputy of public prosecution, and 3 as ministers. In addition to that, 18% of the State Council members in 2015 are women.

Omani Women have the right to vote in all the government elections. They also granted the right to nominate themselves for Shura Council, by stating this right in the basic law of Oman in 2000.

In 1971, women’s activities were becoming more systematic after the establishment of Omani Woman Association. Currently, a total of 58 Omani Woman Associations are distributed in all over the Sultanate, aiming at providing chances and opportunities for women to enable her socially and develop her skills and capabilities, in addition to providing physical centers for workshops and training courses of which she is interested. To apply for membership at Omani Woman Association, please visit this page.

The Sultanate is the second Arabian country in enabling women and integrating her socially according to a study by Thomson Reuters.

Under the instructions of H.M Sultan Qaboos bin Said the 17th of October had become The Omani woman’s Day, where the country celebrates with her in appreciation of her great efforts and contributions in building and developing the Omani society.

A number of seminars and conferences are held in topics that are of interest to her, such as: Omani Woman's Symposium Economic Empowerment of Omani Women Seminar.

The Omani Woman is well known in the Arab world and in the international society as she had become a role model for other women who seek accomplishment, success and better future for her and her society.


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