Viewing cable 05MUSCAT682
Title: WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION PLEADS FOR MEPI PROGRAMS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT6822005-04-25 13:31:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000682 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARPI (TROBERTS), NEA/PI(LSHULTZ) 
ABU DHABI FOR MEPI (HWECHSEL) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SOCI KMPI KWMN SCUL PGOV ELAB MU MEPI
SUBJECT: WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION PLEADS FOR MEPI PROGRAMS 
 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
¶1. (SBU) The provincial head of an Omani Women's Association 
chapter in Salalah is hungry for greater MEPI engagement that 
might better train the women of that region for jobs in a 
modern, diverse environment.  Highlighting the cultural 
differences between Dhofari women and those in Muscat, she 
identified cross-cultural awareness as being on par with 
English language and computer skills among the traits most 
lacking within the female workforce.  Leading employers in 
the region share her assessment.  End summary. 
 
----------------------- 
Salalah Women Need MEPI 
----------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) Noor al-Ghassani (protect), President of the Omani 
Women's Association (OWA) chapter in Salalah, told PolOff on 
April 17 that she is desperate for any MEPI programming in 
her region, particularly in the areas of computer literacy, 
English language, presentation skills, and 
business/accounting basics.  Al-Ghassani highlighted the 
cultural and educational differences between Salalah and 
Muscat when considering developing programs for women of 
Oman's southern Dhofar region.  She stressed the lack of 
higher education and English language skills as obstacles to 
both MEPI programming and women's employment in Salalah. 
 
¶3. (SBU) In addition to the lack of basic skills development 
such as computer literacy, al-Ghassani suggested that 
significant cultural differences continue to hamper the 
promotion and success of women in the workforce.  In addition 
to needed business skills, al-Ghassani reported that 
providing fundamental cross-cultural training and workplace 
orientation to acclimatize women to a diverse, international 
business community is of equal importance.  At least one 
Omani businessman concurred, going so far as to say that his 
company will not hire women who continue to wear the 
traditional full-face covering so common in the Dhofar 
region.  He believes that the covering prohibits effective 
communication and prevents most women from promotion to 
higher ranks within companies.  (Note: Another major employer 
in the region said that it has had to relocate a woman 
employee, twice, from a secretarial position where she was 
the only lady in the office.  The employer has re-advertised 
the position, for the third time, and will now only hire a 
male secretary.  End note.) 
 
-------------------- 
Seeking Ways to Help 
-------------------- 
 
¶4. (SBU) In an effort to promote more engagement with the OWA 
Salalah chapter, the Embassy will endeavor, whenever 
possible, to include participants from there in future Muscat 
events, and possibly to tailor future MEPI programs 
specifically for Salalah's needs.  Al-Ghassani said greater 
involvement with MEPI would help identify qualified women 
from the local business community interested in networking 
with women from Muscat.  She said there is no shortage of 
rising stars in the region, only a shortage of opportunities. 
BALTIMORE