Monday, June 27, 2022 | Dhu al-Qaadah 27, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Women in Oman as Bosses: Achievements, Challenges and the Future

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WOMEN ON THE WORLD STAGE

Rumaitha al Busaidi


Middle East Climate Strategist


Media Personality


Marine Scientist


Having female ambassadors and pioneering Omani women representing Oman on the global stage when this was not the norm in our part of the world is by far the best and most memorable achievement to me. I was lucky enough to have worked closely with the first female Omani ambassador HE Khadija al Lawati during my time as an undergraduate in the Netherlands and later on connected with HE Hunaina al Mughairi within her capacity as the Omani ambassador to the US, and it showed me how Oman was so ahead of its peers. A lot of us Omani women assumed that it was a norm when in fact it wasn’t until fairly recently in neighbouring countries.


As a female leader, the most significant barrier has to deal with the conventional roles society has imposed based on gender, and this goes back to the need for a paradigm shift on the stereotypical mindset a lot of us in the world are subjected to. People make assumptions about women at work and as leaders based on their stereotypical roles in society, and Omani women have strived and continue throughout their careers to change that perception as much as they can; to prove that women are capable of doing way more than what society allows them to do.


The way to overcome the challenges should start by targeting the closest circle first, before broadening it, and having those uncomfortable conversations that most of the time we tend to avoid. But also, being in a male-dominated society, it is important for women to find male allies who continue to offer their support to their female colleagues’ opinions and decisions when it seemed difficult to get through to people’s minds.


This year’s International Women’s Day theme proclaims “from challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge”. As a young Omani woman, the identities I carry have impacted the work that I do in ways that would surely be different if I wasn’t carrying them, and for that, I am grateful because it has allowed me a unique point of view which I am sure many of my fellow Omani women share. Despite the challenges women face, I am confident that with more of us coming together, championing one another, and seeking allies, we can all work hand in hand to promote gender-responsive policies and find ways to connect our work using the gender lens .


 


 


WOMEN IN HOSPITALITY


Sarah Khaled


Director of Marketing Communications


Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa



Did you know that “Hospitality” is currently classified amongst the top female-led industries in the world? The hospitality sector has significantly changed over the past decades. Nowadays, female hoteliers tend to portray a leadership style that is highly recognised and appreciated by the employees, which positively contributes to their deep essence of motivation and achievement.


Due to the dynamic nature of hotel life, there are still some preconceptions that women face during the hiring process, such as the difficulty in finding work-life balance, childbearing, or choosing family over a career. Hence, being a female hotelier made me strongly believe that professional and personal lives are layers on top of each other with rotating levels of emphasis. Since I cannot let go of any of them, I chose to celebrate this overlap rather than trying to force them apart.


My advice to all the working women out there: Never let work and ambition compete with your personal life. How much or little guilt you experience at work or home is in your control; as it is more of a mindset to become happy with your choices. 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!”


 


 


WOMEN IN FINANCE & BANKING

Salima al Marzooqi


Chief of Islamic Banking


NBO


I am honoured to be among a great number of women in the banking industry and beyond who are working alongside our male counterparts with every bit as much passion and drive. While we are fortunate for the industry’s ongoing commitment to promoting a supportive and equal opportunities culture, our success can no less be attributed to the determination and strength of women across the Sultanate.


We are blessed to live in a country that recognises the potential of women and grants us equal rights, owing to the wise vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and now His Majesty Haitham bin Tarik. This commitment is just important as ever as we continue to build a globally competitive banking industry, while supporting Oman’s Vision 2040 for a progressive and equal society.


As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we hope to encourage women across the Sultanate to know what they are capable of, and to know that every one of them is important and valuable to our nation’s development.


 


WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

Alena Dique


Coordinator, UNCTAD Youth Action Hub, Oman


Founder, One Oman


Women in Oman have been an essential contributor to building the Omani society. Women have contributed to the continuous development of Oman while empowering fellow women to participate in the prosperity of this country.


On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all women, we celebrate the many strengths and the perspectives they bring to technology. For women in technology, that means we acknowledge those who have pushed the boundaries of the industry and are helping to strengthen workforces by making them more inclusive environments. As a forward-thinking and innovative sector, it’s important for the tech industry to continue creating opportunities where women not only enter the industry, but break the gender ‘norms’ to lead.


It is now more than ever that women in STEMA are needed to provide knowledge and mentorship to other women because when we encourage and empower each other, it can result in amazing things for the future of tech, future of a nation and future generations.


 


WOMEN IN CORPORATE & PR

Luma al Saleh


Deputy Managing Manager


TRACCS


The PR and Communications industry has always had its slew of opportunities and challenges for women. Things have changed tremendously. Only 10 years ago, this was a male-dominant industry. Today, the advances are evident, where we are seeing more women occupy senior positions, from women bosses running their own agencies to communication experts sitting with their male counterparts, vying for a seat on the table.


I think no matter if you are on the client or on the agency side of the equation, the biggest challenge that I have seen in the field is having women’s voices heard. I will never forget when I attended a meeting and the female client was ‘shushed’ by her male counterpart because he wanted to talk. She simply shied away. The consistent lack of female voices suggests that women participation is still undervalued, where in reality their experiences are distinct. The diversity they bring impacts business decisions and innovation.


I am fortunate enough to be working side by side with a man who supports women and women who support other women - where both have extended opportunities to me that have been new, challenging and rewarding. This is what is needed to bridge the gap and advance to an inclusive society.


 


WOMEN IN CREATIVES

Enaam Ahmed


Artist


Omani Society of Fine Arts


During the era of our late Sultan, the role of Omani women has expanded and has included male-dominated areas like politics, arts and governance. Omani women broke many glass ceilings in the last 20 years and the same can be said in the field of fine arts. It is very heartwarming to observe that Oman women had been getting the full support of the government in the field of art by establishing the Omani Society for Fine Arts in 1993, Open to both genders, it has allowed women to launch their careers in the even bigger field into the consciousness of the international art market.


One of the remaining challenges we have to contend with as artists are the scarcity of galleries. While we get exposure to OSFA, it will help make the art scene in Oman even more dynamic if more galleries will be created to also give focus to emerging artists. Inshallah, education more focused on fine arts will also rise so that raw talents in Oman can be honed.


It is my dream as an Omani woman artist to one day rise and reach international ranks. With the mechanisms in place, women artists in Oman are now given opportunities to rise with their male counterparts. For the world to appreciate local and Oman talents is not impossible. It just needs a little bit more push and support to bring it to the pinnacle it deserves.


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