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Training for Gender Equality

Achieving gender equality in the Middle East will be a long process, requiring fundamental educational, social, and economic reforms. But giving women the right training now can kick-start the process, enabling more women finally to reach their potential – to the benefit of all.

MUSCAT – For centuries, women around the world have struggled for even the most basic rights. The fight for equality has been an uphill climb – one that is far from over. This is certainly the case in the Middle East, where the challenges women face are typically rooted in social norms, cultural systems, and religious doctrine, and can be enshrined in law.

In some Middle Eastern countries, women may not travel, work, or register to vote without permission from a man in her family. Even if it is not explicitly prohibited, joining the workforce is often very difficult for women, not least because of widespread resistance among the men who dominate these societies. Any woman who has sought to apply for a job knows just how vehement that opposition can be.

The result of these norms and structures is that women in the Middle East are often subject to discrimination, isolation, and frustration. They are unable to participate freely in their societies or contribute to their countries’ economic development.