Omani Women Rights
Omani women had considerable influence prior to contemporary legislation because conventional Omani culture was more tolerant and open-minded than modern society, mainly when it came to men-women marriages. Since Arabic civilization historically supports cooperation and social responsibility, women socially interact alongside men in creating their voices and forming their identities (Varghese, 2011). An Omani woman’s position is traditionally derived from her family, and her primary responsibility is to sustain her family as a social institution and economic organization. Omani women in contemporary society play a vital role in social, political, and economic arenas, thanks to women’s rights and citizenship rights. Their impact may be seen in school, the workplace, and the corporate sphere, which has an impact on their family and community roles. In Oman, there have been several significant improvements in women’s and children’s rights in the last few years. A multitude of legislation was passed that aided in the promotion of children’s and women’s wellbeing.
There is no question that Omani women have obvious privileges and rights in modern society. Notwithstanding the profound and dynamic developments, Omani women, like those in other parts of the world, face societal restrictions and impediments. As a result, the author will discuss the legal rights that women enjoy in Oman and the social obstacles that women face in their homes and communities.
Ever since the 1970s, the Government of Oman has indeed been addressing detrimental social and traditional values and practices that hurt women at the legislative level. Women are empowered by several laws and changes enacted by royal and governmental directives. They raise women’s legal standing to males’, allowing them to participate fully in Oman’s growth. The changes they have implemented would not be successful without the profound support and advanced vision of HM the Sultan, who firmly believes that social change and women’s empowerment cannot be left to public debate.
Despite these laws, social barriers and values challenge women to claim their rights. Traditionally-minded Omanis who may be worried about the social consequences of the entry of women into public life continue to thwart Omani women. As this paper will discuss both women’s equality by law and barriers by tradition, it will also suggest solutions that may help women overcome the traditions that prevent full equality between men and women in Oman. This is indeed a worldwide problem. Women’s issues are gradually gaining traction in male-dominated civilizations across the world. Even in industrialized countries, regulations are insufficient to eliminate many types of gender inequality. Omani women must transcend traditions they have indeed been taught from birth in order to grasp and apply these rules correctly. Then they must adjust their self-image and social roles from previous cultural standards to current ones.
Omani Women’s Rights between legislations and social practices:
It is well established that women and men are different, yet both have equal rights and duties as citizens as legislated by Omani decrees and laws. These changes challenge women’s traditional stereotypes. As per the yearly analysis of the United Nations Children’s Fund, women in the Sultanate of Oman have made significant advances in recent years. In health, education, employment, and a variety of civil and political rights, specific indices show significant progress. Justice, equality, and shura consultations are the foundations of governance and the cornerstones of all elements of political, economic, and social life, according to Omani ideology. Oman has transformed the fundamental position of women in the country, and as a result, previous laws have been revised to reflect this modern understanding of women’s rights. These reforms have been made to eliminate any conventional obstacles that prevent women from participating fully in Omani society. This essay will review specific laws that preserve women’s rights and compare them with social practice. Such laws profoundly highlight women’s rights, but some of them possess a misunderstanding in the context of women’s equality.
- The Basic Law of the State (101/96):
This law does not discriminate between males and females regarding social rights and obligations, nor occupations and public office. Social equality is the foundation upon which all Omani legislation asserts equal opportunities to citizens despite their gender. Article (17), for instance, empowers women of Oman with absolute and complete rights and duties in society. This law aims to assist the Omani community in letting go of old, damaging socio-cultural beliefs, notably those that discriminate against women. This equality/equity classification assures that both men and women in Oman have equal access to education, healthcare, security, work, marriage, inheritance, and inheritance. Acceptable religious, as well as societal principles, ensure all declared rights.
- Personal status law issued on (32/97)
From the perspective of Islamic and Sharia law, this legislation protects a citizen’s rights and defines social equality in five main elements of social life. The five elements are marriage, divorce, guardianship, legacy, and inheritance. Each element includes several articles outlining male and female rights in their daily lives. Women have various social rights under Omani personal status legislation and Islamic law, including:
- stipulate the conditions of their marriage contract,’ but in reality, young girls do not think about stipulating conditions in marriage contracts. As marriage is pinky and a rosy life.
- Retain maiden name after marriage.
- Have marital rights of a wife.
- Conclude marriage contract. Due to social shame and values, women who ask the judge to conclude marriage are indecent.
- Have custody of children. Only in the case of remaining unmarried, divorced, and widowed women devote their lives to raising their children even when they are young.
The majority of women’s rights articles in the Personal Status Law are based on equal opportunities even before the State’s fundamental law. One especially welcomed law stipulates the age of marriage of 18, forbidding traditional marriages that occurred with brides or grooms under 18. It is vital to compare between rights and privileges provided in this law and the actual practices.
- Social Security Law (87/84):
Social security benefits Omani women that do not have a regular wage or income, especially those who do not have a stable income. According to the above law’s criteria, women with personal, financial status such as unmarried, widow, divorced, deserted, orphaned, underage, or families of imprisoned individuals are granted social security. This governmental support will also cover no charges or taxes for health care, documents, land registry, scholarships, housing, ….etc.
On social practice, families and relatives of women and girls entitled to social security support also benefit from governmental support. In the case of girls who finish high school and have not been granted scholarships, it is expected that their male guardians marry them off temporarily then get them divorced to qualify for social security and scholarships granted to young divorced women. Widows also commonly give their lands to their eldest son or brothers and fathers to provide for them.
- Civil Services and Labor (120/2004) (35/2003)
If individuals have the same credentials and experience, all Omani employees in public and private sectors are entitled to equal employment and compensation prospects. Furthermore, both legislation provides women extra benefits, such as maternity leave. These benefits are based on the Personal Status Law, which grants women complete paid maternity leave and unpaid childcare leave. Women are also barred from working between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. unless specified circumstances apply. In addition, Muslim women are entitled to four months and ten days of paid mourning vacation. Married women have the right to take unpaid leave for up to two years to join their husbands when they are transferred abroad for study or job. In reality, if the wife is sent abroad for study or work, the husband will never do the same, and she will be asked to give up her opportunity to someone else because she cannot leave her family and husband, but she can easily give up her interests, which is why there are few women in high occupational and decision-making positions.
- In 2008, a royal decree changed the Governmental Lands Entitlement Law no. (81/84) to allow women to claim governmental land regardless of socioeconomic position. Women who are entitled to federal land, on the other hand, frequently abandon it to their sons, husbands, and dads since they are financially accountable for it.
- Another turning point in Omani women’s social development which changed the map of social values against women, took place in 2009. The Omani government organized a three-day forum in Sohar devoted to Omani women’s participation in all levels of Omani society.
This was an unprecedented progressive evaluation of Omani women in Oman’s social and public life. The symposium’s recommendations are considered the national Omani women empowerment’s strategy. All governmental, public, and private sectors are responsible for initiating actions that guarantee women’s equality and promoting their advancement.
This declaration contains several social-personal rights in favor of women. First, it issues an alimony law to re-organize the financial life of divorced mothers and children. Second, it promotes courts devoting specifically to family issues. Finally, it affirms the aspiration for female judges in courts. Masculinity is not a condition for such positions as stipulated in Article (21) of the Judiciary Authority Law. Some female jurists work with public prosecution and advocacy.
Generally speaking, the Omani Women’s Symposium opened wide paths and opportunities for all Omani women throughout the country. Thus, Omani women should change their social lives and move forward as equal partners with Omani men to contribute to the nation. This new task for Omani women is both challenging and necessary for them to find their social identities and claim their equal rights with men to benefit Oman’s modern society.
- In 2010, a royal decree was issued to amend Omani Passport Law no. (69/97) to eliminate the guardian’s acceptance in issuing women’s passports.
Today, Omani women are provided with a wide range of equity and equal social, occupational, and rights to support and rights of ownership and penal legislation and right to education and health care…
At the end of this paper, several suggestions may help Omani women to eliminate the social practice and barriers against them and enable them to claim and build their voices; such suggestions as First and foremost, Omani women must break away from the inherent inequity that exists in traditional and tribal Omani society—providing role models, raising awareness, and developing capacity on women’s rights and responsibilities to themselves, their communities, and their country. Second, rather than accepting male family members’ intimidation, Omani women need to be taught about their equality and rights. Third, in modern Oman, male Omani society must learn to adjust their attitudes about women and to accept women’s equality. Finally, the media may promote male and female equality via example and teaching.
Varghese, T., 2011. Women empowerment in Oman: A study based on Women Empowerment Index. Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, 2(2), pp.37-53.