MUSCAT, April 30 – Efforts are on to extend the maternity leave for working women from the present 50 days to a duration on par with international standards, according to the head of women’s affairs department. Longer maternity leave has been a topic of concern for women in the service sector and has been the focal point of many discussions and talks. Speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of the Training Workshop for Capacity Building for Employees Working at the Department of Women Affairs and Family Development in association with the UNFPA, Jameela Salem Jadad, Director, Women Affairs, said that violence against women is minimal and that women are occupying greater roles in the nation building process.
“Various discussions for extending the maternity leave are on, and we are hoping to have a positive result sometime soon.” “The ministry has already carried out a study and submitted the recommendations to the authorities concerned and we are waiting for the outcome,” she said. “Although there’s no rise in violence against women and family issues which affect the community, we would like to address upcoming issues related to women and raise the capacity building for women in all governorates.” The three-day conference, which comes under the strategy of the ministry’s vision 2025 which envisages social cases related to women, will submit recommendations that will be implemented in the working plan.
Asr Toson, Representative from the UNFPA sub-regional office for GCC, stated that the workshop is a reflection of the policy of the Government in Oman which pays attention to the role of women and supporting their activities in all areas of life. The government conducts several development programmes focusing on developing women status and advancing her skills to be an effective citizen and part and parcel of the sustainable development process. This training programme supports the skills of the workers in the Department of Women Affairs at the ministry and the other family development departments in all governorates so that they are able to understand women’s cases in regard to analysing the social cases and legal regulations that affect women in the country and the link between those regulations and the SDGs, especially the goals with focus on gender equality.