Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oman's female entrepreneurs mean business?

I received this link in my inbox from Google alerts this morning. It's a CNN interview with a Dhofari female entrepreneur, the one and only Mariam Belhaf. As a woman, I know exactly who she is because I'm a fan of her frankincense and bukhoor mixes. She makes a mean oud mix. No idea how CNN got hold of her, though.
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Anyway, just thought I'd highlight one issue here for you. Despite the fact that women in 'Oman' seem to be free, independent, active, strong, leaders, ambassadors, ministers, etc .. keep in mind that most of this progress is IN THE MUSCAT AREA.
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Do not forget that a thousand kilometres South (and in other parts of the interior) women are still (many of them, not all) forced to wear the burqa (face veil), stay at home, hide from the world. Simply because they're women. Although the number of working/driving females is increasing everyday in Salalah, this change has only happened in the past couple of years or so. Society is still heavily male-dominated and yes there is discrimination! Many of us young women are fighting for our rights on a daily basis. AND IT'S NOT EASY. If you live in Muscat, then you have no idea what we go through in other parts of Oman. Re-read my longest post in the world about discrimination against women here if you've got all the time in the world :)
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That's all for now!

9 comments:

  1. It'll be years, if not decades before Omani males start appreciating a woman's worth.

    Mona.

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  2. Women suffer discrimination in Muscat, too! What makes it look better here is the fact that Muscat contains a big cultural mixture and everyone has their own lifestyle and customs, those remain unknown of most of the time.

    I sat once with a Dhofari friend and we compared the faces of discrimination in Dhofar and in Al Sharqiya (my hometown) and turned out we're more or less the same :)!

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  3. Discrimination against women is everywhere even in Muscat. Driving a car or going alone to a mall is not the only thing women in Oman need.

    The Omani law is not with women,i.e it discriminates between genders.

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  4. thank you for sharing the link and for talking about this discrimination, and for fighting for your rights! The more women like you the faster some changes will happen...

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  5. A couple of months ago I spoke to a female IT graduate from Dhofar University. She told me that it's extremely difficult to find a job here as a woman. 90% of the guy she graduated with had found a job but only 10% of the women had.

    I think companies should start hiring more women here in Dhofar. The male- female mix will create a better and more intersting working environment for everybody and help in the Sultans goals for Omanisation.

    I've actually found that women seem more motivated to work than men. Maybe because they've fought harder to get their job.

    So, all you companies out there.... Go out and hire some women and up-grade your work force!!!!

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  6. I think I met her daughter in Al Balid, as charming as her mother. The products are great as well so they sell themselves. Miriam is a one of a kind – but it would be great to show more of what lots of women are doing in Oman . Why not some stories on the Omani female managers in Banks , smart managers in the airline offices the type of jobs where there is direct competition against men – and there is success .
    Or women like 'Spot' a female engineering student in SQU Oman

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  7. Some guys from the north wonder why I'm complaining about men. Yeah they don't know how life is in Salalah. Like Mr. Diabman I think!!

    My classmates in Muscat couldn't believe me when I told them I'm not having a drivers' license while they were showing off theirs.

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  8. Omani Female EngineerAugust 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    Hi, your comments about discrimination against women are true. It is true that there is less here in Muscat than in other regions. However, we still suffer discrimination in many ways. I am a female engineer (there arent many of us but we are on the rise). I have worked in different companies with people from different backgrounds. What I found was that some men felt uncomfortable and thought I should go and 'teach' (perfect Omani wife job). I love my job and managed to command the respect by my hard work and dedication but its not easy.

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  9. I love bukhoor too. I got some when I went back home and also in Dubai. My cousin makes her own too and its so nice!
    I do hope and pray that women are soon also recognized in other parts of the arab world and other parts too. There are lots of unsung women heroes out there who need to be recognized. As a mother of girls, I try everything to make sure that my girls are well respected and get to experience what is important for them and their future. sf

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