8 March International Women’s Day – From Empowerment to Prosperity: The Positive Effects of Gender Equality


International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8, and it serves as a moment to applaud the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women worldwide. It also presents an occasion to advocate for their fundamental rights and bring attention to their struggles. This year’s theme, “#EmbraceEquity,” is an invite to challenge sexism and gender inequality and strive towards a fairer and more inclusive world.

Gender equality has become an important issue in many societies around the world. Women have been historically marginalized and discriminated against in many areas, including education, employment, and politics. However, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of gender equality, not only from a moral standpoint but also from an economic and social perspective. Countries that have made significant progress in women’s rights have seen many benefits, including improved economic performance, higher levels of social stability, and better overall health and wellbeing for both men and women.


One of the most significant benefits of promoting gender equality is the economic growth it can bring. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, if women were to participate in the economy at the same rate as men, global GDP could increase by $12 trillion by 2025[1]. This suggests that closing the gender gap in employment and entrepreneurship can lead to significant economic growth. When women have equal access to education, training, and job opportunities, they are more likely to contribute to the workforce and generate income. This, in turn, can lead to increased spending and consumption, creating a positive cycle of economic growth. For example, in countries where women are able to own property and businesses, they are more likely to invest in their communities and contribute to economic development.


In Oman, many regulations serve as barriers for women seeking employment, whether explicitly through requirements like “male applicants only” or by prohibiting women from holding certain positions, such as judgeships. The unified admission system also preserves gender-based discrimination, as it assigns a limited number of seats for female students, regardless of their academic scores. Additionally, there are more subtle, yet equally damaging restrictions, such as the “permissions system” which hinders university students’ freedom of movement and thus their ability to fully participate in society, obtain job opportunities or invest in their future. There are also indirect ways that hinder women’s career prospects, such as arranging marriages for underage girls, as authorized by Article 10 of the Personal Status Law, thereby preventing them from finishing their education or pursuing higher studies, and also by forbidding them from entering the workforce after marriage.

Another benefit of gender equality is increased social stability. A study by the United Nations found that Women in low- and lower-middle-income countries and regions are more likely to experience violence compared to those in high-income countries. In countries classified as “least developed” according to the Sustainable Development Goals, 37% of women aged 15 to 49 have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partners at some point in their lives[2]. Additionally, research by the World Bank has shown that when women are empowered and able to participate fully in society, they are more likely to be involved in community-building activities and work towards positive social change.

As of now, Oman has not established any legal description for physical, psychological, or economic forms of domestic violence against women, and there are no governmental provisions for hotlines or shelters catering to victims of such abuse. Furthermore, the law does not acknowledge marital rape as a punishable offense nor does it safeguard women from it, and it also fails to secure the right of women to obtain a divorce, thus trapping victims of domestic violence in a cycle of despair without any external support


Countries with better women’s rights tend to have higher levels of female political representation. Increasing women’s political representation can lead to more inclusive policies and better governance overall. Although Omani women have the legal right to vote and run for positions in the Shura Council, their actual opportunities to advocate for their interests and organize independently within the political system are quite limited. Presently, the State Council, which is an appointed body, has a maximum of 18.07% female representation among its members, which occurred during the fifth term, whereas the lowest percentage of 9.70% was recorded during the first parliamentary term. In the 2019 elections, only two women were elected to the Shura Council.[3]


Finally, promoting gender equality can have positive effects on the health and wellbeing of both men and women. According to research published in the online journal BMJ Open, countries that prioritize and protect women’s rights are likely to experience faster economic growth and better health outcomes than those that do not. The study suggests that there is a positive correlation between promoting women’s rights and social, economic, and health development.[4]Additionally, when women are empowered to make decisions about their own health and wellbeing, they are more likely to have control over their reproductive choices, which can lead to improved family planning and healthier outcomes for both mothers and children.


Unfortunately, women’s health and reproductive rights in Oman are frequently violated. Some young girls are subjected to female genital mutilation, despite its illegality. Moreover, abortion is entirely prohibited, even for victims of rape, violence, and underage girls. Additionally, there is no law or governmental awareness regarding the significance of respecting women’s decision not to have children in the face of societal expectations and pressure. Women are also not allowed to confer their nationality to their children or serve as their legal guardians. Furthermore, the law poses several challenges for Omani women seeking to marry non-Omanis, effectively limiting their freedom to choose their life partners.


It is crystal clear that nations that prioritize women’s rights are likely to witness favourable consequences across the board. Be it a surge in financial prosperity, a more grounded sense of community or a marked improvement in public health. Oman still has quite a way to go in order to ensure that prosperity and fairness. In order to bring about a society that is both equitable and prosperous, policymakers must take bold action – by introducing new laws that safeguard women’s rights and abolishing those that impinge upon their liberties, as well as providing women with the necessary support to actively engage in politics and the economy.






[1] How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth | McKinsey


[2] Facts and figures: Ending violence against women | What we do | UN Women – Headquarters


[3] مجلس الدولة – البيانات المفتوحة (statecouncil.om)


[4] Nations with strong women’s rights likely to have better population health and faster growth | BMJ


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