(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) ''A hundred years ago, girls were expected to stay at home and behave very lady-like,'' Isabel Fisher says, oozing a kind of maturity that is a rarity for eight year olds; but her childish demeanor quickly takes over as she breaks into giggles and adds, ''But today we can do fun things like run around, jump and play.''
For Isabel, this is her moment of liberation; one that has stemmed from the realisation of what she wasn't able to do in the past, and what she can today.
She, along with several girls, were taught about the struggles of women folk at the recently held centenary celebrations of the Brownies, a pack comprising young girls between the age groups of seven and ten.
The Brownies are part of the Girl- Guiding UK - a charity for girls and young women. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the first of a series of activity sessions was organised at Sohar Gardens in the Ras al Hamra Recreation Club for the Brownies living in the sultanate.
''In keeping with the theme, we got the girls to travel through three different time zones: past, present and future. In the first session, that began in the morning, we took them back to 1914, when the Brownie pack was formed. It is a time period when there was no television and very little was availale in the form of entertainment."
''We revisited this past by playing games like hopscotch and skipping that were popular then. They also took part in an 'obstacle course' where they climbed steps and glided their way through loops and slides. It is symbolic of the difficulties women had to overcome to enjoy the freedom they do now,'' said Diana Cramp, district commissioner for Oman, British Guides in Foreign Countries.
Later in the day, girls chose activity sessions based in the present, including creating a modern graffiti and a new look' with hair braiding. Finally, they journeyed to the future, where they were advised about making good use of their empowered present.
As part of the session, the girls learnt that they could become firewomen and were also taught how to use a fire hose by the Ras al Hamra fire personnel.
''Women are rarely encouraged to become firefighters,'' said Diana, adding that the idea behind getting them acquainted to a fire engine was to expose them to the possibility of breaking stereotypes. One of the girls drove this point home. ''It felt so great to sit inside a fire engine. I think I might just become a firewoman when I grow up,'' she said, still uncertain, yet confident as she echoed the Brownie s