“Omani women can be proud of the opportunities in Oman, allowing her to bloom in glory, thanks to the wise leadership of our late visionary leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who made us women, stand up with dignity and pride,” says Widad Hassan Sultan, senior marketing executive, Towell Auto Centre (TAC). “I have very proud examples of inspiring mentors and trailblazing women who make Oman proud in their various roles from teachers to decision-making ministers,” she adds.
Women across the world in companies often get into what is termed ‘gender double bind’ – when they become aggressive in their work, they are ‘insensitive’, when they exercise empathy, they are ‘indecisive’. Does it bother you?
Fortunately, I have been part of a very strong team where I have not come across such gender biases. I personally believe that I am a balanced individual; such words do not represent me. Every individual, being part of a corporate structure contributes according to their role, and no individual roles can be categorised as equal. Everyone has a unique significant role to play.
The global pandemic was a sphere in which women leaders showed their mettle. What is this essence of a woman that helps them dismantle the usual narrative and help them veer their companies from disaster to success and beyond?
A woman wears many different hats at any given time and it is this ability to nurture and adapt that equips her to handle any situation and steer from disaster to success. She is a multitasker, a mother, sister, spouse, sibling and most importantly a caregiver. She is also nurturing the family health and is responsible for her whole family’s emotional wellbeing while performing her role as career women and earning her mettle.
The pandemic saw working remotely as a common new office structure, with the children doing online classes and the working family member’s presence at home changing the lifestyle.
I would say women in the pandemic scenario brought out their best multitasking talents, showing their grit, while shining throughout. The healthcare sector – and in fact in every other industry — has a significant percentage of women caregivers braving all odds to serve the affected community with a smile.
Many qualities of women come to the fore in a crisis – how do they (or you) transpose this into the work ecosystem?
My strong belief in Allah keeps me strong and optimistic. I would say a woman is her strong self when her support system, her immediate family, stands by her to move forward positively. Faith, love, empathy together with a professional approach and focus is what makes a good life at work or otherwise.
While you may argue that women are at present ruling the world, when will the time come when they will, without a doubt, rule the world?
I would not use the term ‘rule’. Today the world needs leaders ready to take on challenges in order to achieve a collective good for the society. More than rulers, I believe in healthy giving partnerships. As an Omani woman, I have very proud examples of inspiring mentors and trailblazing women who make Oman proud in their various roles from teachers to decision-making ministers.
Omani women can be proud of the opportunities here, allowing her to bloom in glory, thanks to the wise leadership of our late visionary leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, who made us women, stand up with dignity and pride.
And it continues with our dear leader, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, who has taken up this mantle and we, women, also draw great inspiration from Oman’s first lady, Her Highness The Honourable Sayyida Ahad bint Abdullah bin Hamad Al Busaidiyah.
What are the fundamental characteristics that help a woman shine in the corporate world?
Education is the most important means that would facilitate a woman to take up good opportunities with confidence; then comes being innovative, with an ability to adapt, face challenges, empathise, nurture and be responsible. A woman gets her multitasking strength by evolving through the various phases of her life, and coming out in colours.
Widad Hassan Sultan is a fifth generation member of the Towell (Sultan) family. She is also employed with Towell. A mother of three, she has been in the family business since 2008 and with the TAC since 2011.