Oman ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”) on February 7, 2006.
Upon ratification, Oman made the following reservation as described below:
- All provisions of the Convention not in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic sharia and legislation in force in the Sultanate of Oman;
- Article 9, paragraph 2, which provides that States Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children;
- Article 15, paragraph 4, which provides that States Parties shall accord to men and women the same rights with regard to the law relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and domicile;
- Article 16, regarding the equality of men and women, and in particular subparagraphs (a), (c), and (f) (regarding adoption).
- The Sultanate is not bound by article 29, paragraph 1, regarding arbitration and the referral to the International Court of Justice of any dispute between two or more States which is not settled by negotiation.
Summary of Official CEDAW Reports:
To date, Oman has yet to submit their first official report.
Summary of Shadow Reports:
No shadow report has been submitted regarding the application of CEDAW in Oman.
Oman is often seen as one of the more progressive states in the Gulf region in terms of women’s rights. Women’s overall personal status is dictated by Islamic sharia. Omani women have the right to vote and run for office. During the October 2003 parliamentary elections, women had the opportunity to participate without restrictions. Although women’s participation increased significantly, none of the 13 first-time female candidates won. Despite laws providing equal pay for equal work and the fact that gender discrimination is prohibited in the workplace, women’s participation in the workforce remains low, hovering around 13% in 2000. In regards to schooling, the government has actively promoted female education, which has greatly reduced illiteracy in the past decade.
Despite this progression, women in Oman still face discrimination in a number of areas, particularly with regards to inheritance and freedom. Women are required to seek the permission of a husband, father or male family member in order to travel out of the country. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor and Vocational Trade is charged with women’s affairs on the national level. The Ministry funds the Oman Women’s Association (OWA) and other local women’s organizations. OWA works to provide vocational training programs, lectures on health and primary school services.
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