Muscat: The contributions of Omani women to the country’s economy and society were extolled and further equal opportunities for them highlighted as the Sultanate celebrated Omani Women’s Day on Tuesday.
The occasion was celebrated at the Ministry of Tourism headquarters under the patronage of Nada Bint Hassan Bin Mohammad Al Jamali, a female member of the State Council and a member in the Board of Directors of Dar Al Atta Charitable Society.
Speakers discussed the critical need to foster a cross-cultural dialogue on gender equality and women empowerment.
Highlighting the role of women in the country’s tourism sector, officials pointed out that gender equality could be encouraged through tourism entrepreneurship opportunities for women.
Speaking about challenges Omani women face, Lubna Al Mazroui, Studies Specialist, Ministry of Tourism, told Gulf News: “Gender discrimination, conservatism and patriarchy in the community pose challenges that deter women’s empowerment. There is great potential for women to showcase their skills in tourism entrepreneurship by honing their creative pursuits.”
Gulf News can report that less than 100 women in the Sultanate are involved in tourism entrepreneurship.
To raise the number, authorities have initiated several campaigns for greater awareness about tourism entrepreneurship through activities involving women’s skills in tour operating and guides, food, agriculture and handicrafts. These campaigns are expected to produce results soon, believe officials.
“Every woman will feel proud to be part of this country under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed. We are proud of our female workforce,” said Najah Al Rashdi, ASG for Administration and Finance in The Research Council.
The achievements of Omani women formed the theme of a panel discussion involving members, officials and employees of the Oman Council. Held under the patronage of Dr Suad Mohammad Ali Sulaiman Al Lawati, Chairperson, State Council, the discussion’s topic was ‘Omani Women: Achievement and Aspirations’.
Speakers on the panel discussed topics relating to Omani women’s accomplishments and their goals with Maisa Zahran Al Ruqeshi, Public Prosecutor, emphasising legislations made in view of Omani women and their association with similar international legislations. In another panel discussion, Dr Wafa Salim Ali Al Harassi spoke at length on ‘Women’s Rights: Reality and Aspirations’.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Development has organised the official celebration of Omani Woman’s Day under the patronage of Sayyid Mohammad Bin Sultan Al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, in the presence of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Suayed Al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development, officials and heads of Omani women’s associations from different wilayats of the Sultanate. As part of a slew of events planned by the ministry, the 6th Family Cohesion Seminar will be held on Wednesday under the title ‘Woman and Family Economy’.
Omani Women’s Day was also celebrated with cultural and artistic programmes, such as art exhibitions and musical events. The Omani Photographic Society held a special exhibition for the eighth year in a row for Omani female photographers. Showcasing their aspirations and ideas 40 Omani photographers exhibited 50 works, all selected by a neutral jury. The exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, at the headquarters of the Omani Photographic Society in Al Khud under the patronage of Hujaija Bint Jaifar Al Said, will continue until October 31.
The Royal Opera House Muscat honoured Omani women, their role in nation building and their invaluable achievements in arts and music with performances by the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra Ladies Chamber Ensemble. The ensemble includes four women out of eight outstanding musicians from the Oman Oud Hobbyists Association. The audience was also enthralled by a guest performance by young Yemeni singer Balqees, who released her debut album, Majnoun, in 2013 and her second album, Zai Ma Ana, in 2015.
-Nickyta is a freelance journalist based in Muscat