‘Omani women are just as capable as their male counterparts’

Oman Wednesday 08/March/2023 07:30 AM
By: Times News Service
‘Omani women are just as capable as their male counterparts’

Muscat: Omani women have taken giant strides in different spheres of life over the years and the strong support from the Sultanate of Oman government has been one of the key factors in enhancing the profile of women, according to senior women professionals in Oman.

Times of Oman spoke to a few leading professionals ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, a global day of celebration to recognise the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and to promote gender equality.

The 2023 campaign theme of International Women’s Day 2023 is #EmbraceEquity where the focus is on gender equity that needs to be part of every society’s DNA.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough’.

Rumaitha Al Busaidi, marine scientist and well-known climate activist, said: “This year’s International Women’s Day theme is quite befitting; embracing equity. Equity is a favourite word of mine because the claim that we all need equal opportunities is personally not enough. We all start from different places, and different positions. As such, true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. It is also extremely crucial to not paint equality and equity as one of the same things when in fact it is not.”

She added, “Critics may claim that we don’t need a day to celebrate women and to uphold their achievements. But the main purpose of having such a day goes far beyond that. This day is to recognise challenges, to acknowledge that our mothers, sisters, and daughters have persevered and continue to thrive in a world that needs greater attention on equity."

“According to the World Economic Forum, we would need over 100 years to close the gender gap, which means that no matter how old you are today, we will not be able to close that gap in your lifetime. I think this thought should make us take a pause, ponder, and acknowledge that we have a long way to go. Yes, there is progress which is changing the lives of so many and this is why it is so important to appreciate how far we have come while keeping the gender equity goal alive in our hearts and minds. Let this be a day where we reflect on our trials and tribulations but also our victories while we continue to champion one another; one woman at a time! Let’s #EmbraceEquity!”

Shatha Al Maskiry, Managing Director, Protiviti Oman, said: “Women are increasingly excelling in the digital world, and their innate skills are essential for success such as strong emotional intelligence, ethics, critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills.”

“They are creative at developing new solutions and innovative digital experiences. They are also empowered with data at the tip of their fingers to make more informed decisions. It’s wonderful to see Omani women proving themselves to be just as capable as their male counterparts. So increasing the number of women in technology would help bridge the gender gap and create a more inclusive and equitable digital world, where everyone can feel confident and secure in their online activities.”

March 8 is an important opportunity for companies to celebrate women’s achievements and talents, and to act on the issue of gender equality.

Leen Al Atassi, head of corporate communications, Oman Arab Bank, said: “International Women’s Day is a moment for us to honour the achievements of women. It is also a day where we can raise awareness on the opportunities available for women and the role organisations can play to unlock their full potential."

“In the banking sector, gender diversity and inclusion are critical for success in today’s global economy. We know that women bring unique perspectives, skills, and ideas to the table, which can help financial institutions better serve their customers and communities. Over the last 50 years, there has been great emphasis on the role of women in shaping the banking sector and more specifically the future of the bank itself.”

Leen added, "At our bank, our main focus has been to establish a workplace environment that fosters leadership development and provides equal training opportunities. This has enabled our female staff to take up senior positions, leading to the intentional creation of a gender-balanced leadership team. Today, approximately 40 percent of our branches are led by our female Omani talent. We know that the banking sector can play a key role in creating a more prosperous and inclusive society.”

Few women professionals said that companies have an obligation to do more for gender equality because it is not only a moral imperative, but it also makes good business sense.

Sarah Khaled, Director of Marketing, Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel, said: “International Women’s Day is a special celebration for all of us. This day highlights the importance of casting a spotlight on gender parity and that we can all #EmbraceEquity. To achieve true gender equality, we need to continue to focus on inclusivity, visibility, and empowerment of women every day.”

She added, “The piece of advice that has stayed with me is to always challenge yourself and never let your work and ambition compete with your personal life. Your professional and personal lives are layers on top of each other with rotating levels of emphasis. Celebrate this overlap rather than trying to force them apart. Success starts by believing in an idea, doing what it takes to make it happen, going out there to achieve it and doing what you love every day.”

Sobhi Ann John, chief marketing coordinator, Al Hayat International Hospital, said: “On the occasion of International Women’s Day and beyond, let’s all fully Embrace Equity and focus on women becoming financially independent. Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Let us focus on becoming independent, I would say financially independent. We can be anyone’s daughter, sister or wife that does not matter. As women we should focus on becoming financially independent because the future is always uncertain."

"It’s not just something we say. It’s not just something we write about. It’s something we need to think about, know, value and embrace. It’s what we believe in, unconditionally. Equity and financial independence means creating an inclusive world.”

Sobhi Ann John added: Each one of us can actively support and embrace equity and financial independence within our own sphere of influence. We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. Everyone, everywhere can play a part. When we embrace equity and financial independence, we embrace diversity, and we embrace inclusion. We embrace equity and financial independence to forge harmony and unity, and to help drive success for all.”