In an era where there were not a lot of work opportunities for Omani women, Taeeba bint Khaleef al Salti is one of those who broke the glass ceiling and created a niche for herself and has paved the way for women in her workplace.
In a career that spanned 35 years, she has produced more than 200,000 documents and letters becoming one of the most prolific documents handlers and producers for the Secretariat Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Sur.
“I’ve always believed that women are just as capable as any man. What we know today as the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion used to be the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. there were not a lot of job opportunities for women back then. I had this vision that women should one day occupy high positions in any profession and I have to work hard to usher in a new way of thinking for career women in the society’’, Taeeba said.
She started her career as a typist of letters and documents for the Secretarial Department of the ministry on March 20, 1985, a month after the bureau was opened in Sur.
At that time, she was only 17 years old. She has studied typography methods using the old typewriting machine and that was her ticket to landing the opening which was announced at that time.
Back in the 1980s, Taeeba said that other than teaching jobs, there were not a lot of opportunities for young women like her.
“There was a pushback when it comes to women working in offices. You won’t see a lof of working women. My family played a great role in encouraging and supporting me especially my father. There are days when I wanted to give up because of frustration. I usually hear depressing comments just because I was motivated to have a job in an office’’, Taeeba shared.
“I went to my father one day explaining the difficulty I was facing at work especially the snide remarks I often hear. At that time, most fathers will not allow their daughter to work in offices where it’s mostly men around. I drew strength from my father’s advice because even though my father was uneducated, he told me not to listen to what other people say but instead, continue doing a good job and not lose my motivation’’, she shared.
“Society sometimes can set very stringent rules that are not helpful. As long as we are doing what’s right, we should also push back’’, she said.
For her difficult beginnings, Taeeba would prove to be a great asset to the department. As she was deeply motivated to improve, she has taken numerous courses to improve her skills, particularly in typing. She moved and worked in nearly all departments of the ministry and has witnessed the numerous administrative changes that took place over the years. She was the only woman working at the said office from 1985 to 1993 until another hardworking female, Bushra al Ghailani joined the team. Aisha al Nuaimi would soon make them the trifecta female power in the department.
“In the early to late 80s, we were using this manual machine where if you make a mistake, you have to re-do the whole document from scratch. I developed my own style of writing, drafting, formatting and reviewing letters and documents. When we moved on to the computer era, it has become easier for us to do our job. We were also able to establish that women can do the job really well’’, she shared.
In her 35-year career, she was promoted from ‘typist” to Writer of Posts and Documents until she retired as Acting Head of the Postal and Documents Department.
“I stopped studying when I was 13 due to some issues. But I strived hard to gain my secondary preparatory certificate until I completed my education. I used to go to work in the morning and after work, join a literacy school. Those hard days will eventually pave the way for me to complete high school. The ministry also provided me with an opportunity to complete my university education but due to family circumstances, it was proved to be difficult to juggle so many responsibilities’’, she said.
In her stint at the Ministry, she was able to help train the new employees and imparted her knowledge to the complexities of letter and document-making. She also proudly shared that their impeccable performance has caused their department to receive accolades and be noticed for an exemplary job. She retired on December 31, 2020, leaving behind an amazing legacy of hard work and dedication and ultimately paving the way for empowered females to have a space in the workforce.
On the occasion of Omani Women’s Day, Taeeba said, “My advice to all women is that your work is a proof of yourself. With our capabilities, we can be great partners to any man and can contribute to nation-building. To make this societal contribution, it is important to depend on yourself and look after your needs.”
“I congratulate women on all their days. The Omani Women’s Day is an acknowledgement of what women can do not just in their day to day life and how they manage their families but most importantly in their role as great contributors to building a society. I urge all women to continue in their pursuit of becoming the best in their various fields and to become an amazing force that will help the country rise as one of the best in the world’’, she said.
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