(MENAFN - Times of Oman) Women's participation in the Majlis Al Shura was the focus of discussion on the second day of the Omani Women's symposium at the Royal Camp in Sohar.
Pointing to election of women to the Majlis Al Shura, Saud bin Ibrahim Al Busaidi, minister of interior, said "women have an equal role in society".
"Women should serve the society like men because they are benefitting from it just like men," Saud said.
Noting that women's participation would enable them to move forward and contribute to society, he said: "This is a challenging task but if they can carve out their identity, it would also benefit the society."
"When there is no active participation there is no development so we hope women are equal partners in the country's development," Saud said.
He also pointed out that there should be different mechanisms to ensure women's participation.
The forum attended by prominent women from across the Sultanate also evaluated their performance and election results from 1995 till 2007.
A number of papers were presented followed by discussions, in which recommendations were sought on overcoming difficulties women faced. The papers presented sought to look for ways to develop and augment women's role in national development.
Lieutenant-General Malik Al Ma'amari, Inspector-General of Police and Customs and Mohammed Sultan Al Busaidi, undersecretary at the Interior Ministry chaired the discussion.
Emphasising on the importance of women's participation in Majlis Al Shura, Malik Al Ma'amari said: "The final outcome should be to achieve objectives of the state, the overall development and strengthening of ties between people and the government."
He said the paper provided an analysis on contribution of women in parliamentary works. "It also identifies the nature of challenges she faced in the field," he said.
Women's issues were taken up prominently after her participation in the State Council, the paper concluded.
The paper recommended the establishment of a women's panel in the Council, strengthen relationship between constituencies and members.
The paper also recommended highlighting the Council's role in the process of development. It also emphasised women's achievements in the Council.
The symposium also focused on women and legislation, and the challenges. The first paper on the theme was chaired by Mohammed bin Ali Al Alawi, legal affairs minister.
Al Alawi said "providing women with real opportunities" to participate "is the most vital factor of the success of the other communities". "They should be given opportunities in education and training in order to attain the highest levels of proficiency," he said.
Judge Issa Al Azry, chief of Court of First Instance from Al Musanaa, presented the second paper, in which he noted challenges faced by women in legislation. Al Azry said laws of the state emphasised equality, social justice and equal opportunities to all citizens.
"In the area of employment, the laws also provided additional safeguards for working women. For instance, women are not allowed to work in hazardous and arduous conditions that might prove detrimental to their health," Al Azry said.
"The country also provided women with all facilities in cases of pregnancy and childbirth, in addition to social security in cases of divorce, widowhood, disability and old-age," he said.
By Rahima Al Balushi