Woman plays vital role towards development

MUSCAT: The policies, plans and programmes pursued by the Sultanate since the dawn of the blessed Renaissance in 1970 reflected the participation of woman in all fields. Omani legislations contributed to giving the woman her rights and helped her play an important role in the development, and boost her national role in various fields of life as a key player in sustainable development. In 2016, the Ministry of Social Development began implementation of the Social Action Strategy in coordination with the concerned authorities, with the participation of local and international experts and in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), which extends over 10 years (2016-2025) and has been developed according to three guiding principles namely empowerment, equity and social integration.
The focus was on six themes in the strategy, including the family development related to the woman’s affairs sector. It includes developing her productive skills, enhancing political and social participation, legal awareness to her and the challenges of working woman, in addition to following up the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The blessed Renaissance, stemming from the civilised vision of the builder of the Modern Renaissance of Oman His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, has given great importance to the Omani woman in all fields.
Through its various programmes, the Ministry of Social Development seeks to develop the potential of woman, build her capacities and skills and give her opportunities to participate in development programmes, enable her to participate actively in her family life and community affairs, plan and implement programmes and provide all forms of support and training.
The combined report of the Sultanate’s second and third CEDAW reports in 2016 states that the Sultanate has been keen to pay attention to the situation of rural woman and has supported her various roles, including work in the non-monetary sectors.
The Sultanate marks the Omani Women’s Day on October 17 every year. The Ministry of Social Development organises an official ceremony on this occasion, including holding a major symposium, presenting the experiences of Omani women entrepreneurs and some of the women’s affairs activities, launching scientific studies on educational, economic and social aspects at the household level.
The figures of the National Centre for Statistics and Information on the qualitative composition of the Omani population indicate that there are 2.1 million Omani women in 2016, and 41 per cent of the Omani women belong to the (0-17) age group and 23.6 per cent belong to (18-29) age group.
Female employees in the government sector at the end of 2016 accounted for 41.5 per cent of the total number of employees, while their share in the civil service sector was 47 per cent. The percentage of females in the top and middle management jobs and direct civil service was 21 per cent.
Female employees in the private sector accounted for 24 per cent of the total number of Omanis working in the sector. At the end of July last year, there were 59,144 female workers out of 236,708 Omani workers in the sector. The percentage of insured females at the end of 2016 and registered for the pension funds was 32 per cent. The female beneficiaries of social security were 58 per cent, 14 per cent of them were divorced, 8 per cent were widows and 3 per cent were unmarried.
In the area of political participation, Omani women have the right to exercise the political rights guaranteed by the national legislations. The law for the election of the members of Majlis Ash’shura was issued by Royal Decree No 58/2013 indicating the conditions of election in the Council. In accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law of the State, the woman has the right to put in for election or to elect without any conditions or restrictions that discriminate between man and woman.
Women in the State Council represent 17 per cent during the current 6th term and 1 per cent in the 7th term of Majlis Ash’shura 2016-2020, and 3.40 per cent in the municipal councils for the period 2016-2020.
The Sultanate joined the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women by Royal Decree No 42/2005. The Ministry of Social Development formed a committee to follow up the implementation of this Convention, represented by a number of government and civil authorities. In early 2016, the Sultanate submitted its second and third national report to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was discussed during the 68th Session of the UN Committee for the follow-up to UNCCD.
The Sultanate has protected women from all forms of violence, including sexual violence, domestic abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace through a number of legislations, including the Labour Code.
The Omani woman participates in the representation of her country in international forums. There are many Omani women employees working in the diplomatic corps. They work in embassies of the Sultanate, including ambassadors in a number of countries. The representation of women in the diplomatic field witnessed a remarkable development. The number of women working in the Foreign Ministry reached about 219 employees, where women constitute 11 per cent.
In view of the role played by woman in the social sphere and her awareness of the culture of volunteering and her participation in the service of society, there are 4 centres for the development of the Omani woman and 62 woman’s associations in all governorates of the Sultanate, where the woman carries out her social, cultural and sports activities, and community service in general, according to its geographical locations, and according to the laws. The specialised NGOs provide programmes and services for woman in accordance with the jurisdiction.
The studies confirm the success of the government’s plans to provide all opportunities for training, rehabilitation and education, out of its belief in the vital role of Omani woman in building the society and her significant contribution to advancing development. The indicators show that Omani woman are able to assume the national role entrusted to her. She excels in scientific, applied, health and sports fields, taking advantage of the royal support of His Majesty by providing government programmes aimed at empowering woman in all political, social and economic sectors. — ONA