Magazine article The Middle East


Magazine article The Middle East


Article excerpt


THE SULTAN OF Oman had it right when he declared that to ignore women--who make up 50% of the population of the Sultanate--would be to ignore 50% of the potential of his citizens.

When Qaboos came to power in 1970 there was little in the way of anything much to shout about. Over several generations, the country had drifted into isolation, regarded internationally as a sleepy desert backwater that attracted little global attention, either good or bad, from anyone.

The new ruler was determined to put Oman back on the map and, with the proceeds of the country's spiraling oil wealth that is exactly what he did.

Today Oman is a thriving, modern country, crisscrossed by multi-lane highways, it enjoys a free education system, boasts thriving banks and businesses, ports, airports, a lively and prosperous stock market, universities, schools and hospitals. And women--Omani women--enjoy a high profile in all things, including politics, business, science, banking and the arts. They helped put the country where it is and they intend helping to keep it there.

The results of the last few readership surveys conducted by The Middle East magazine confirm that the number of women readers is steadily increasing, not only in the Gulf States but across the region. And these women are not just reading the magazine but buying and subscribing to it.

As the editor of The Middle East--and a woman--this comes as no surprise to me. During my regular trips around the region I have met a range of extraordinary women holding positions of huge responsibility: government ministers, doctors, journalists, airline pilots, economists, CEOs--extraordinary not because they are women but because of the exemplary way in which they do their jobs.

However, that is not to pretend that there is not still a long way to go before there is anything approaching true equality for women regionally, and indeed, internationally. …

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