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Culture & Tradition

Women in Oman

The woman has a firm place in the Omani society. Legally, women are equal to men. They are allowed to work, drive and hold public office. They are self-confident and refute all prejudices which are partially harbored against Arab women. The policy of Sultan Qaboos ibn Said promotes and demands equal rights. He believes that women do not have to veil themselves and that they should get involved in politics and defend their views. That’s why women can also be elected to the State Council. In addition, Qaboos also says that only an educated woman can raise free children. For this reason, there is compulsory education for girls and many young women study. The social law ensures that widows and divorced women are entitled to social assistance.

Women’s traditional clothing

Omani women like to dress in bright colors and unusual patterns. They wear wide pants (sirwal) made of cotton or silk. Above this, they wear an overdress (kandoura), which is cut wide and straight, extends to the knee and is decorated with gold and silver applications. On the head, Omani women wear a headscarf (lahaf), which is available in many colors and patterns and that extends over the shoulders or down to the waist. Gold jewelry is a popular accessory but often covered by clothing. The women sometimes cover their colorful clothing with a light black overhang (abaya), which is said to protect the precious fabrics from dirt and dust, but is also a sign of decorum and religiosity and is worn on official occasions and especially during the Ramadan. Bedouin women often wear a face mask. This protects the skin from the high solar radiation and the desert sand.