Profiles of Women in STE in Oman

Education:

Literacy Rate (2003)  65.4%
Primary School Enrollment (2004)  79%
Secondary School Enrollment (1995 – 1999)  66%
Tertiary School Enrollment (2000)  7.1%
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Science(1995/1996)  10.2%
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Medicine(1995/1996)  3%
Percentage of Women among Students Studying Engineering
(1995/1996)
 2.8%

Employment:

2006 Female Labor Force Participation Rate:  16%
Wage Equality for Similar Work (Ratio of women’s wage to men’s wage)  N/A
Enterprise-Level Policies to Combat and Prevent Sexual Harassment  N/A
    • Up until 1970, girls did not have access to an education, but since then, free education is provided to all students, and enrollment rates has been fairly equal for males and females. In some cases, female enrollment in universities has exceeded that of males. However, this may be due to many males studying at universities abroad, while women have limited traveling rights . The gender gap in education does seem to be narrowing. In 1995-99, the ratio of girl to boy students in primary school was 0.95, and in secondary school, it was 0.97, showing almost equal enrollment among the genders. There seems to be a lack of interest in attending school at the tertiary level among both men and women students. In tertiary school, the ratio of women to men students was 0.78, with enrollment for women at 7.1%, and men at 8.8%. The number of women that go on to study sciences at the university level is drastically low, as demonstrated in the figures above. Women still feel societal pressures to study gender appropriate fields, such as art, education, or humanities.
    • In 2002, 54% of students enrolled at the Sultan Qaboos University were women. However, the university designed policies to limit women enrollment into certain areas of study. Women meet restrictions in fields like medicine or engineering where gender quotas are designed to accept more men than women into the fields. Even though the high school graduation rate is equal among all students, there are few spaces allotted for women in certain technical or professional schools. According to Freedom House, there were no women that graduated with a degree in engineering from the Sultan Qaboos University in 2002. Additionally, requirements to study in certain fields are more rigorous for women than for men.
    • In 2006, Omani women only comprised 16% of the labor force. Women have been appointed to civil service positions. In 2004, the first woman was appointed to head the Ministry of Education. Although legally, a woman has the right to decide her career, in practice, it is usually decided by male family members. Additionally, women are promoted less frequently than their male counterparts.
    • Many gender inequalities still exist in the legal and penal system, limitations on women’s movement and male-supervised travels are examples of inequalities existing within the country’s infrastructure. Though the law stipulates equality for all in the workplace, professional women still face discrimination. Women often do not receive the same work benefits as men and face discrimination in the hiring process. Furthermore, Oman does not have any law in place protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace .

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