Abla al Riyami
Gas Director, PDO
In the spotlight
Because as the Gas Director of Petroleum Development of
Oman she is directly accountable for meeting the company’s
obligation as gas operator for the government of Oman. She
is the winner of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)’s
regional service award in 2010. The award was conferred on
her recognising her outstanding service to SPE and the
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos inaugurated the government gas
plant at Yibal on October 29, 1978, marking the beginning of
the Sultanate’s gas industry. Thirty years after the start
of gas production, close to half of PDO’s hydrocarbon
production is in the form of gas and condensate. PDO finds,
develops and operates natural gas fields and their
associated production systems. The company delivers gas to
the government gas system, which supplies fuel for most of
Oman’s power stations and some of its industries, and to the
Oman LNG plant
In her ‘enabling’ style of leadership, she specifies her
objectives to the subordinates giving them the freedom to
accomplish the assigned tasks within a reasonable time frame
Director, Suhail Bahwan Group
Leading from the front
Because as the Director of Bahwan IT she has played a
pioneering role in the remarkable growth of the company as
the industry leader in the IT landscape of Oman. She leads a
dedicated and competent team comprising professionals with
vast industry experience.
Winner of the prestigious QMS ISO 9001:2000 certification in
2009, Bahwan IT offers end to end IT products and services
which revolve around the industry standard hardware,
networking, security, data capture and software domain. The
25-year old company works closely with the world’s best IT
organisations such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, 3i
Infotech, Red Hat, Oracle etc to bring the best of IT
solutions that meet the requirements of the customers. It
practices strong quality systems and an excellent project
management approach. Amal is also a member of the Board of
Director’s of the Suhail Bahwan Group one of the foremost
business houses in Oman.
A consultative approach to address customer requirements
Mohsin Haider Darwish
Joint Deputy Managing Director, MHD
A constructive leader
Because as Joint Deputy Managing Director handling the
Automotive Division and Internal Audit & Computer Systems
function of MHD, She has played a key role in the success of
the company. She is actively involved in the decision making
process charting business strategies and operational plans
that align objectives with corporate goals. Says Areej, “I
believe that quality after sales service is very important
to retain customer loyalty and have chalked out plans
towards restructuring the customer care function that would
have specific action items linked to deliverables and
performance indicator objectives.”
She believes that a leader’s obligation is to lay out
clear-cut strategies and goals and to create a healthy
working environment of mutual trust, respect and
consideration for each other’s ideas and feelings.
Goodwill of the community means more to us than making
Zaher Al Harthy
Head of Economic and Business Research
Oman Oil Company
Off the beaten track
A s a head of Economic and Business Research, Oman Oil
Company, she has proved her mettle in the intensely
competitive oil and gas industry. Earlier in 2001, she had
shown the exemplary courage to join Oman Oil Company leaving
the comfort zone of her family owned business Al Harthy
Group where she was the Managing Director.
At OOC she leads team involved in fostering a performance
culture within the organisation and building its reputation
as a world class company. She also played an important role
in securing a “Sultan of Oman Professorship of International
Relations” at Harvard Business School, her alma mater, in
April 2004. The professorship encourages scholarship
regarding Oman’s contribution to international affairs.
Besides, she was actively involved with the “Five-Year
Planning” process for the Omani government from 2001 to 2005
as a representative of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and
As long as you are ready to take on challenges you are
bound to grow
Finance Director, PDO
The Midas touch
Because with a career spanning over 30 years at
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Fatma is one of the
longest-serving members of the company and one of the most
experienced and respected businesswomen in the Sultanate.
She oversees the company’s financial services, business
controls, internal audits, legal advice as well as its
contracting and procurement. She also serves as secretary to
the company’s Board of Directors. A graduate in commerce and
accounting, she joined PDO in 1974 as a payroll accountant.
Her career trajectory has seen her move into a plethora of
roles within PDO and Shell in auditing, management
accounting, investor relations and financial management. She
was appointed finance director in 1996. After over a decade
as finance director at PDO, Fatma says her role still
presents new challenges.
Fatma has also been instrumental in highlighting the need
for a robust and recognised accounting education in the
Sultanate through her status as an FCCA as well as her
presence on the government accreditation committee. “I am
delighted that at last we have a professional body like ACCA
represented here in Oman. Organisations like PDO know their
staff will get the best professional education,” says Fatma.
Motto in life
In Oman, it’s about what you do and
if you do it well, that’s what counts
Director, Suhail Bahwan Group
Because she has been
instrumental in making Bahwan CyberTek a leader in the
Global IT Solutions market with world-class products. Bahwan
CyberTek links four nations known for excellence in IT and
ICT – Oman, the UAE, India and the US. Hind is the Executive
Chairperson of Bahwan CyberTek.
Her contribution to the Suhail Bahwan Group (SBG) is
matchless and cuts across verticals. A graduate in Computer
Science and a Harvard Business School alumna, she stands out
as an enterprising and dynamic young businesswoman across
the Middle East. As the Director of Bahwan Travel Agency,
she has been instrumental in bringing all travel related
facilities in Oman under one roof.
She also plays a leading role in working with government and
other leading commercial companies in the joint pursuit of
creating a digital society in Oman. Hind is also a member of
the Young President’s Organisation.
‘Young entrepreneur of the year 2000’ awarded by the
Government of Oman and Ernst & Young
Arabian Business ‘e-Achiever of the Year’ award from HH
Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rasheed in 2001
‘IT women of the year 2002’ award by United Nations
‘Global Leaders for Tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum in
Joint Deputy Managing Director, MHD
An all-round woman
Because she is a versatile figure with lots of remarkable
achievements to her credit ranging from being an SQU
lecturer, to Majlis as Shura member to being voted as one of
50 most powerful women in the region year after year by
As the head of the Human Resources Omanisation and Training
(HROT) department at MHD, she built up a well trained and
equipped workforce, which has cohesively worked together, to
achieve and exceed targets.
As the head of the HROT department, she tried out a
strategic and coherent approach to the management of
employees who according to her “individually and
collectively contribute to the objectives of the business”.
Deeply held belief
Omani women do no longer prefer to stay at home and are
emerging as a power to reckon with in business
Country Manager, Oman, Oman Air
Because Maitha’s exposure of working with major airlines of
the region enables her to wield her influence and competence
to promote Oman Air. Maitha has experience in sales
operations, reservation, ticketing, holidays-packaging,
revenue-optimisations techniques and the related support
services. Born, brought up and partly educated in Oman,
Maitha brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge
that she acquired within a span of a decade. She also
carries with her the tag of perhaps being the first female
cartographer from the region, and the first Omani
cartographer as well.
Maitha, a science graduate from the University of Oxford
Brookes, UK, started her airlines stint with Emirates
Airlines, then moved to Gulf Air as its business development
manager and was subsequently promoted as the general manager
of Gulf Air for Oman.
I feel honoured to be part of our national carrier. It is
like working directly for the progress of your country,
which is what I had always wanted to do
General Manager, Human Resources, Sohar Aluminium
At a formidable pace
she is effectively utilising her management skills to
transform Sohar Aluminum, Oman’s first foray into the
Aluminium industry, into one of the most efficient, cost
effective and competitive aluminium smelters in the world.
Sohar Aluminium intends to become a benchmark smelter while
contributing to the sustainable development of Oman. By
implementing decades of industry insight in its design,
specification and construction, Sohar Aluminium has been
created to ensure efficiency, environmental protection and
the utmost safety of its workforce. In many ways, its
development mirrors the Sultanate’s own emergence onto the
Earlier, as General Manager of Sharakah Fund for Development
of Youth Projects, Malak has worked hard to promote the
spirit of entrepreneurship in Oman. She helped small-scale
entrepreneurs with necessary funding and expertise needed to
convert their business ideas into profitable ventures.
Malak is a seasoned professional and administrator with her
years of experience in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
There is so much to achieve that at times
I feel that there is not enough time in a day
Chairperson, Dar Al Atta’a
On a blessed mission
she has transformed Dar Al Atta’a or the House of Giving
from a small six-member team in April 2002 to one of the
biggest in the region. The enthusiasm exhibited by Dar Al
Atta’a volunteers and the way it galvanised young Omani
people into action in the wake of the recent adverse weather
condition will suffice to illustrate the importance of its
noble social services.
With its family welfare, hospital and student care
programmes, Dar Al Atta’a has made an impressive legacy in
serving the under-privileged families and supporting the
weaker sections of the society. The organisation has helped
raise awareness about the need to help the underprivileged
through its programmes and fund raising activities. It has
helped over 600 cases over the years.
Says Maryam, “We have gained the trust of people over the
years and I cannot describe the joy that I get from working
for the needy.” She confesses that while she was hesitant in
the initial years, her confidence has grown over the years.
Apart from Dar Al Atta’a, she is the Chairman of Essence
Spa; and the Editor-in-Chief of Al Youm al Sabah, an Arabic
Fond of saying
It’s a joy to work for
Member, Board of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Because as the chair- person of the Omani
Businesswomen’s Forum she embodies the aspirations of Omani
women entrepreneurs. Over the last few years, she has
steered the growth of her family business, Snowhite, as its
chief operating officer and director. She looks after long
term policy issues, customer relationship, employee welfare
and matters related to Omanisation. Her style of management
while result oriented and assertive takes into account the
genuine concerns and sympathies of her employees. An alumni
of the Sultan School and a business major from Switzerland,
Natasha reflects the increasing number and clout of
businesswomen in Oman.
At the recently concluded Women In Business Conference, she
said, “We at the OCCI confirm and are fully prepared to
extend our support and co-operation in implementation of the
recommendations of last year’s Seih Al Makrim Women’s
Symposium into reality in a way that will enable business
entrepreneurs and women in general to strengthen their role
in economic development of the Sultanate.
Gem of a quote
We bring a women’s touch to business
Rawan Bint Ahmed Bin Thabit Al Said
National Bank of Oman and
Group CEO, ONIC Holding
Because she has an unique position of being involved with
two of the leading financial institutions in the country –
National Bank of Oman and Onic Holding.
Sayyida Rawan has a distinguished career in banking and
investments and has been acknowledged by NBO stating that
she is an asset to their Board of Directors. Her intellect,
passion and management experience has been making a
significant contribution to the bank. Sayyida Rawan was also
chosen as a board member of ONIC Holding besides her
existing role as group CEO of the company. This shows that
the stakeholders of the company have reposed their faith in
She earlier held positions like Director of Oman Oil
Marketing Co and Director of Research and Financial Analyst
in The State General Reserve Fund. Sayyida Rawan holds a
Master of Science degree in Economics and Finance, from
Loughborough University, UK; a Post Graduate Diploma in
Investment Analysis, from Stirling University, UK; and a
Bachelors Degree in Economics and Political Science from
American University, Cairo.
The opportunities given to me strengthen my resolve to
implement the long term strategies of the company and take
it to greater heights
Omar Al Zawawi
Chairperson, Oman International Bank
A quite performer
Because she was the first woman to lead an Omani
corporation. All eyes from the sultanate’s banking community
were on her in 2002 as she was appointed as the chairperson
of Oman International Bank (OIB), one of the leading banks
in the Sultanate.
She has been on OIB’s board since 1996. Founded by her
father, OIB came into being on January 1, 1984 and became
the first 100 per cent Omani owned commercial bank in the
Sultanate of Oman. Reem has won numerous awards for her
leadership of the bank, including the Arab Women Award 2006.
OIB is known as an innovative bank with a long list of
firsts – it was the first bank in the Gulf region to offer
mobile banking service, the first Omani bank to issue a Visa
Card, and the only bank currently offering a phone banking
service. OIB has more than 80 branches in the country and
four overseas branches at Mumbai and Kochi in India and
Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan.
Our tradition of reliability, loyalty and integrity has
enabled us to always be there for our growing family of
customers, employees and shareholders’ our friends and
bint Salim Al Ghammari
President, Omani Women’s Association
Parliamentarian par excellence
as the first woman to be elected to the Majlis A’Shura
in1994 she achieved the unique distinction of opening the
doors for Omani women to stand for elections and vote.
Winner of an award for the Arab world’s most distinguished
female parliamentarian and public figure in 2004, this
dynamic president of the Omani Women’s Association has been
active in voluntary works for women, disabled people and
children since 1975. Shakoor who was re-elected to Shura
council in 1997 for another term is currently a Member of
the Council of States. As president of the Oman Women’s
Association, she is a role model for every woman to emulate.
Shukoor says, “Women here enjoy many rights. Omani women are
appointed to top posts in both public and private sectors.
This has had a positive impact on the country’s development.
But then there is more to be done,” says. Shukoor feels
women need to be more aware of their rights. “Women should
ask for their rights and get it. They deserve these rights.
Women need to work closely with each other to enjoy these
It is not enough if the rights are on paper. They should be
used in a positive way
Mohammed Abdulla Al Harthy
Vice Chairperson, Shareholder and Board Director of MB
of Sharifa’s active role in the overall day-to-day
functioning of MB Holding, a company which has over 6,800
employees. At one time, she was also head of two departments
at the Institute of Public Administration.
Sharifa possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Business
Administration from Jordan University (Amman, Jordan) and
Masters Degree in Business Administration from Texas
Southern University (USA).
In addition to MB group of companies she has also worked for
the Institute of Public Administration, Oman from 1980-1990.
Was the head of two departments, and gained extensive
experience in instructing government employees in public
policy, administration, and work efficiency.
She left the Institute of Public Administration to join MB
Petroleum Services and was involved in developing its
management systems. She was responsible for human resources,
administration, development of policies, management systems,
training and government liason.
In 2005, MB Holding Company was formed as the parent company
of a number of companies with wide ranging interests in
oilfield services, oil & gas exploration and production,
mining and investments. In the last few years, the MB Group
has spread its operations to 20 countries, grown its
employee strength and generates revenues in excess of $1bn.
She has also spear headed MB Holding’s corporate social
responsibilities (CSR) activities, charity and participated
and supported Women’s Leadership conferences in Oman and
Was the head of two department in Institute of Public
Administration and instructed government employees in public
policy and work efficiency
CEO, Al Madina Development & Supply
Synthesis of cultures
she braved many challenges in her professional life to
emerge as one of the most successful businesswomen in the
Sultanate. Since she took the helm of Al Madina in 2004, she
played a constructive role in the growth of the company.
Thanks to her background, Sheila combines all the positive
traits of both the far East and the West. While in the US
she worked with a Japanese company. After graduation, she
worked as an assistant analyst with the NASA International.
After marriage she moved to Kuwait with her husband who was
a specialist in industrial engineering. After eight years in
Kuwait, they came to Oman to join his brother.
A mother of two, Sheila hopes one day her children will take
up the company so that she can relax and allot more time for
Favourites and hobbies
Travelling, Italian food, sushi and tofu
Barka S Al
Life honorary member of the Al Noor Association for the
Leading from the front
as one of the founders of Al Noor Association for the Blind
she has been working strenuously for the cause of the
visually impaired and blind in Oman for the last ten years.
Barka has selflessly worked for creating a society where
each and every blind person will be able to lead a life up
to his optimum potential and be so empowered as to be able
to work towards his own growth and development. She firmly
believes that the visually impaired and blind, If properly
trained, would be perfect for any job. “It is most important
for blind people to have the chance to choose whatever job
they want, and for the public to give blind people the
opportunity,” she says.
Barka who has turned 64 and is considering retirement is
happy that things are moving in the right direction. She is
also hopeful that an eye bank at Oman will become a reality
in the next five year plan. For 2011, she wants a
professional director taking over the running of Al Noor
Association for the Blind.
The blind have the potential to contribute to the
development and manpower requirements of the country
Alia bint Thuwaini Al Said
Honorary president of Al Noor Association for Blind and
Patron, Women in Business Conference
Committed to bring light
of her commendable social services as the honorary president
of Al Noor Association for Blind and the leadership
qualities she exhibited as the patron of highly successful
Women in Business Conference.
Al Noor Association for the blind provides support for
visually impaired people and helps them improve their living
standard. The association focuses on the welfare, education
and health of the blind and works out and implements plans
and programmes for their overall development. It gives top
priority for their education, training and professional
development and conducts special training programmes for the
teachers to treat the visually impaired students. Alia was
the real driving force behind the highly acclaimed exclusive
annual conference for women which attracted entrepreneurs,
prominent businesswomen from all over the world who shared
their expertise and experiences in the corporate arena.
The conference which addresses key issues particularly
relevant to Arab world is aimed at helping the delegates
develop key skills in business processes needed for
effective company management. The conference 2010 included
workshops conducted by America-Mideast Educational and
Training Services (AMIDEAST) on two topics – Strategy
Development and Leading with Emotional Intelligence. It
provides a platform for women in the Sultanate to come
together for networking and imbibe core business values and
principles for running a successful enterprise.
Patron of Women in Business Conference and honorary
president of Al Noor Association
Tania bint Shabib Al Said
President, Environment Society of Oman
For a green cause
Because for the last 16 years she has been in the vanguard
of a noble mission to conserve the natural environment and
rich heritage of Oman for future generations.
As the President of the Environment Society of Oman (ESO),
Sayyida Tania, together with the members of the ESO, is
making every possible effort to educate and spread awareness
among the public on environmental issues. ESO enables the
public to become actively involved in conservation by
organising participatory events and serves as a platform for
exchange of ideas and information related to human and the
natural environment of Oman. ESO has led initiatives to
reduce the use of plastic by offering shoppers an
alternative in canvas bags. It has conducted clean ups, held
lectures, started a paper recycling project in schools and
taken part in various marine research projects focusing on
turtles, whales, dolphins and the coral reefs around the
In 2009, she bagged the Environment Personality of the Year
award at the GCC Environment Awards. It was quite a feat,
because she was the only woman to be ever nominated to this
A green building as the headquarters of the ESO, so that it
sets an example for other real estate projects in Oman
Mohammed Al Rawahi
Founder, National Association for Cancer Awareness (NACA)
Yuthar is a three times cancer survivor and has been at the
forefront of cancer awareness programmes in the Sultanate of
Oman. Not only that, she is the founder of the National
Association for Cancer Awareness (Naca) which is the leading
organisation in the Sultanate helping to not only combat
cancer but also support victims of the dreadful disease by
developing awareness, advocacy and research in cancer in
Oman so as to help the community.
Realising that cancer was a taboo topic in Oman, Yuthar
decided that it was her duty to speak out and shed light on
the disease, especially given the crucial importance of
awareness and regular examination. As a living proof of the
life-saving importance of early detection, Yuthar has not
only been inspiring cancer-stricken people but is also
fighting to remove to misconceptions about the disease.
On Omani women’s rights, Yuthar says, “We have held our head
high because of the backing of His Majesty but there is the
societal attitude we need to address when we talk about
rights of women. However we are moving in the
Omani women enjoy an extensive range of civil and political
liberties that are founded on the basis of religious and
state laws but I think we can’t rest on the laurels since we
have a long way to go.
THE MOST POWERFUL WOMEN
FROM THE PUBLIC SECTOR
HE Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy
Oman’s Ambassador to the US
dispelling inaccurate or outdated stereotypes about women’s
roles in the Arab world – or at least in Oman – is one of HE
Hunaina’s primary objectives as Oman’s top diplomat in the
US. HE Hunaina is not only Oman’s first women ambassador to
the US but she is also the first woman ambassador to
represent an Arab country in America.
An economist and New York University graduate and hailing
from a prominent Omani family, HE Hunaina was Oman’s
permanent representative in the United Nations in New York
before she was appointed as the country’s ambassador to the
US in 2005. She played an instrumental role in lobbying for
congressional ratification of the US-Oman Free Trade
Agreement, which came into effect in 2009.
On women’s career prospects in Oman
As long as you know what you are doing and you are capable,
there is no problem moving up the ladder
Bint Khatir al Farsi
State Council Member
Because, as an Omani
littérateur and academician, Dr. Saida has employed her
writing as a powerful instrument for social transformation
and woman empowerment.
Saida who was born and brought up in Sur had moved to Kuwait
when she found it difficult to pursue higher studies in
pre-renaissance Oman. After her graduation from the
University of Kuwait, she came back to Oman in 1970s when
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said urged thousands of Omanis
living in exile to return to the country and help rebuild
the nation. Later, she earned a PhD in Arabic literature and
comparative literature from Cairo University in 2002. Her
doctoral dissertation was on the psychological alienation of
women in Gulf countries. She was the Head of Arabic
department, Curriculum, Director of the Office of the
Minister of Education, Director of Model School for Girls in
1980, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for cultural
activities at Sultan Qaboos University from1986 to 1996 and
Incharge of cultural activity in Muscat Science and
Technology College from 1996 to 1999.
Dr Saida was one of the founding leaders of Family of Omani
Female Writers in 1996
Mohammed Al Abdwani
Chairperson, Oman Flour Mills and Mazoon Distribution
of two successes
Because she has
demonstrated her entrepreneurial skills to make Oman Flour
Mills (OFM) a leading mill in the region with a flour
capacity of 850 tonnes per day and over 1000 tonnes of
As the Chairperson of the mill, she has helped the mill grow
not only in stature but also in credibility features that
have been consolidated with sheer hard work and
determination to deliver high quality products. These
attributes have helped the mill in gaining an exceptional
market share in the Gulf, in addition to developing exports
to Africa, the Commonwealth countries and East Asia.
Says Manal in her Chairperson’s report, “With a sales
turnover of more than RO26mn, we are proud to be the market
leader in the Sultanate, way ahead of competitors. Our
presence in over 10 countries is a proof of our ability to
understand customer requirements across the globe.” Her
leadership also helped MDC, which distributes power in Al
Dakhilyah, Al Sarqiyah and the South Al Batinah regions, to
improve its financials and operation and reduce losses.
Apart from these she also happens to be the Director General
of Planning and Follow-Up at the Ministry of Commerce and
Has been instrumental in making Oman Flour Mills a leading
mill in the region
Mona bint Fahad Al Said
Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Cooperation, Sultan
Vice-Chancellor of Sultan Qaboos Univer-sity (SQU) for
External Cooperation, Sayyida Mona plays a major role in
raising the profile of the University and promoting
international collaboration. The Office of External
Cooperation was instituted 2002 in this regards.
SQU vigorously pursues collaboration with a variety of
institutions in order to promote and strengthen both
teaching and research, and also to enrich the experiences of
its staff and students. Over the last few years, the Office
of External Cooperation (OEC) has taken big steps to
strengthen and improve its strategies and efficiency.
Sayyida Mona holds a PhD in special education, Queen’s
College, UK. She is fluent in English, Arabic and French.
She is majorly involved in activities within the university
and outside as well and is part of an ambitious project, the
first-ever dedicated Children’s Public Library.
Presided over a dialogue on ‘Omani women in journalism’ in
May which aimed at enhancing communications and sharing of
Naashiah Saud Al Kharusi
Member of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority
Because Naashiah has been
in the telecommunications industry for 40 years and is
credited for being the first woman engineer to join the
sector. Presently as a member of the TRA, she plays an
influential role in the formulation of policies for the
telecommunications sector in Oman. The telecom sector is
presently going through an interesting phase with two fixed
line operators and as many as seven mobile operators (two
Class I and five Class II).
She had assumed responsibi-lities at TRA at a time when it
was important that TRA’s role was understood and respected
at a professional level by the sectoral players.
Naashiah was instrumental in establishing the first
frequency coordination committee for the AGCC countries. In
1996, she acted as a governor for a full year on Intelsat
Board, representing AGCC group in this organisation. On the
international level, Engineer Naashiah was elected as
Vice-chairperson of the Telecommunications Development
Advisory Group of ITU from 2001 to 2002.
Be professional, never compromise your integrity, be
knowledgeable, master your subject and be humble
Rajiha bint Abdulameer bin Ali
Minister of Tourism and Chairperson, Omran
Cynosure of all eyes
Because she occupies the
chair of one of the most important government authority
namely the ministry of tourism. Tourism is expected to be
the mainstay of the government’s efforts to diversify the
national economy from oil to non-oil sources. Dr Rajiha is
also the Chairperson of Omran (Oman Tourism Development
Company), a public-private vehicle established to develop
key tourism infrastructure in the Sultanate.
The Ministry of Tourism has been at the forefront of
allowing the tourism industry to grow and prosper despite
negative impact of the global financial crisis. Despite the
global slowdown, Dr Rajha says that there were some positive
effects. These include the elimination of speculation from
the real estate market; investors who have became more keen
on not depending on pre-selling of real estate units; and
the appearance of focus on executing tourism components side
by side with real estate components.
Tourism is going to be a principal driver of the country’s
economic development and developing international markets
for Oman tourism is imperative
Rawiyah bint Saud al Busaidiyah
Minister of Higher Education
Because Dr Rawiyah was the
first female Minister with portfolio in Oman’s history when
she was promoted to become the Minister of Higher Education
on March 8 in 2004. She is also the president of the council
of Sultan Qaboos University. She obtained a PhD from Oxford
University. Before her appointment as Higher Education
Minister, Dr Rawiyah held the position of higher education
The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) is a key player in
the development of Oman’s human resources and critical to
the supply of qualified professionals and skilled labour for
the country’s increasingly diversified economy. Serving a
rapidly developing economy and society, the Sultanate’s
system of Higher Education has grown quickly over the past
two decades since the establishment in 1986 of Oman’s
premier university, Sultan Qaboos University with a few
hundred students. Sultan Qaboos University now has over
15,000 students and eight colleges offering forty-three
programmes in a range of areas, including Engineering, IT,
Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Business, Education,
Arts,Humanities, Law, and Music.
Under Dr Rawiyah’s leadership, the Ministry of Higher
Education has ushered in a number of vital changes in the
bint Khalfan Al Siyabiyah
Chairperson, Public Authority for Craft Industries
Preserving for posterity
Because of her invaluable
contributions and dedicated efforts for the survival and
growth of Oman’s traditional crafts and trades. Her
appointment as the Chairperson of the Public Authority for
Craft Industries (PACI) in 2003, with the rank of a
minister, was a remarkable milestone in the history of
modern Oman. It paved the way for more women’s induction to
the cabinet. As the chairperson of PACI, she played a
pioneering role in the development of crafts industry as a
vibrant sector capable of attracting a new generation of
craftspeople. Established in 2003 as an independent legal
entity overseen by the Diwan of Royal Court, PACI focuses on
protecting traditional knowledge and cultural forms of
expression, especially the Omani cultural heritage which is
rich in traditional arts and craft.
Recently, HE Aisha led the Sultanate’s delegation at the
48th World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) meeting
in Geneva. Aisha was the driving force behind an ambitious
technical co-operation programme which PACI and WIPO signed
at the sidelines of the conference. PACI will organise an
Omani crafts exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of
Oman’s National Day which coincides with Wipo’s 40th
Oman has made great strides in the intellectual protection
of the traditional legacies of the
craft industries under her leadership
Bint Amir Al Riyami
Member of Majlis A’Dawla
Because she is one of the
formidable voices among Omani women parliamentarians. She
was among the two women candidates elected to the fourth
term of the Majlis a’Shura, which went into session in 2001.
Rahilah who represented the wilayat of Bowshar in Majlis
a’Shura till 2003 was appointed as a member of State Council
in 2007. She is the chairperson of human resource
development panel of the state council and heads Women and
Children council at Oman National Commission for Education,
Culture and Science (ONCECS) from 2004 which is chaired by
the Minister of Education.
With extensive parliamentary and administrative experience,
Rahilah stands out as one of the more energetic public
figures in the country. She has done her BA in Psychology
and Social Studies from Egypt in 1969 in addition to a
certificate course and a diploma in education from the
United Kingdom in 1977. After returning from Kuwait in 1974,
she joined the Ministry of Education where she served as the
head of the private education department till 1978. Later,
she became the director of public education department from
1978 to 1980 and the director of education planning
department from 1980 to 1996.
Her firm belief
Look at our country; we have been given equal status (for
women) in every sphere
Sharifa bint Khalfan Al Yahya’eyah
Minister of Social Development
Because of her exemplary
services for the comprehe-nsive development of all sections
of Omani society. A university professor, Dr Sharifa was
appointed as the Minister on October 22 in 2004. Since then
she has been actively involved in the efforts of the
Ministry of Social Development to provide basic community
and family services. Sharifa believes women are key players
in ensuring sustainable development and in shaping their
communities and families.
The Ministry of Social Development carries out technical and
research studies and operates projects and pilot schemes in
various social fields with the aim of promoting community
development, providing people with the tools and knowledge
to enjoy more productive and fulfilling lives. The Ministry
prepares social welfare plans and programmes for families
and individual citizens, frequently backed up by material
assistance. It takes steps to improve the housing, economic
and social conditions of families on social security and
involves the government and non-government sectors in an
increasing number of development and social projects in
cooperation with various state authorities. The Ministry of
Social Development employs a highly professional team of
more than 160 experts and administrators to fulfill a range
of functions, including research into social trends and
developments, interviewing families applying for social
welfare and conducting regular home visits where necessary.
Omani women are the foundation of support for their families
and in the forefront in every sphere of life
Editor-in-chief, Oman News Agency
Knowledge is power
Because she is the first
woman editor of Oman News Agency also known as ONA – the
most important news agency in the country and the official
channel for news about the Sultanate.
Zamzam graduated from Sultan Qaboos University and worked as
a teacher of English before moving to the Ministry of
Information, where she held a range of positions. These
included several stints in the Oman TV as a news
broadcaster, chairperson of the news and advertising
department and then marketing. Her effective contribution in
the establishment helped her to become the Director-General
of Oman TV 2.
From a television presenter and broadcaster to the helm of
the country’s most important news agency, it was a
qualitative leap and a different experience for Zamzam but
she is excelling in her present role.
The spread of news to the public has undergone a great
metamorphosis with the emergence of new information channels
and this is the challenge that information providers face.
However, ONA under Zamzam has risen to the occasion.
Comment about women
Women are now seen in all sectors of political, economic and
social spheres. Similarily, Omani women have made a name for
themselves in the media both at the local and regional
COO, Sohar Free Zone
Because she plays a major
role in the development of Sohar Free Zone, one of the most
important infrastructure projects in the country, expected
to attract billions of dollars through FDI. Vyas, who is the
Chief Operating Officer of Sohar Port and Free Zone has been
in Oman for almost five years and has been professionally
involved with infrastructure projects. Vyas first came to
Oman to join the Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC)
heading the Finance and Strategic Development.
Prior to joining SIPC, Vyas was involved in setting up the
Pipavav Port, a Greenfield and India’s first private sector
port. She has specialised in Transport and Logistics in The
Netherlands at Delft and Rotterdam and has a Master’s Degree
from The World Maritime University.
Often asked the Question: How does it feel as a lady to
be a CFO or a COO?
She replies: Responsibilities should be managed and
delivered irrespective of being a woman or man. Sincerity
and dedication in anything that one does whether at home or
work as a home maker or a COO is rewarding.
I would be very concerned if an individual at work is not
taken seriously as he or she has to deliver results as
responsible human beings
OER’s listing of the Most Powerful Women in Business and the
government involved various stages of research. The UMS
editorial team reached out to various industry leaders
asking them to suggest names of the Most Powerful Women.
A comprehensive list was drawn up based on these
suggestions. This list was deliberated upon by a team of
senior editors from UMS and a final listing was arrived upon
after consensus by the editorial team.
The following parameters were used for the process:
The position occupied
Length of experience
Contribution to the organisation and society at large
Ability to influence others
Respect amongst peer group
Courage to take decisions
Ability to drive change
Motivating and encouraging others
Innovation and generating new ideas.
The editorial jury from UMS comprised: Mayank Singh, Khalfan
al Rahbi, Rana Alawneh, Rekha Baala, Visvas Paul D Karra,
Sunil Fernandes, Fatma al Araimi, Mysaa Said al Hinai, Deepa
Rajan and Muhammed Nafie.
The survey is a listing and not a ranking. The effort has
been made to place the personalities in an alphabetical
order, though some exceptions have crept in due to editorial
and design constraints.
Abla al Riyami Gas Director, PDO In the spotlight
Because as the Gas Director of Petroleum Development of Oman
she is directly accountable for meeting the company’s obligation as gas
operator for the government of Oman...
The Omani women’s symposium, held in Sohar in October 2009,
during the Royal Tour, whose recommendations were endorsed by
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said...
Penchant for innovation
Ghaya Al Barwani capitalises on her
abilities to adapt to changes and take decisions. Muhammed Nafie reports...
Shoichi Sakuma, President, Bridgestone
Middle East and Africa, was in Oman recently for the inauguration of
Towell Auto Centre’s Bandag retread factory...
Known as “the Golden Bear”, Jack Nicklaus brought power to the forefront
in golf, being the longest driver of his generation...
A focused approach
The Al Ansari Group is consolidating its operations to make the most
of impending opportunities in the Sultanate and simultaneously looking...
Smiles live on
The OHI Group kicked off its Bring a Smile campaign with a novel idea of
sending 40 children to Disneyland, Hong Kong. An OER report ...
Experiencing real English
ELS Oman has come of age becoming the largest provider of English as a
Second Language programmes in the country. Muhammed Nafie reports...
Stage set for AN INTENSIVE
OER Debate and Top 20 Awards will see more than 200 business leaders
debating about the way ahead for Oman’s economy ...
The real estate market in the country is returning to normalcy with a
generous demand for both commercial and rental properties ...
Sky is the limit
Ross Cormack, CEO, Nawras speaks about the forward approach and growth
plans of the company following the launch of its IPO ...
Nawras IPO opens for subscription
The IPO, Oman’s first since July 2008, is expected to value Nawras
between RO456-586mn ...