The Oman Sail Women’s Sailing Programme was launched in 2011 to empower Omani women and create equal opportunities in the sport of sailing. The first step was to create a comfortable environment for girls wanting to learn and this was achieved by engaging their families and finding the right female instructors to teach Omani girls how to sail. The ultimate aim was to create a women’s team to represent Oman in international sailing competitions.
More than 150 women, aged between 18 and 35, from across the Sultanate applied for the first year of the programme. The top 30 women were chosen to be members of the inaugural group of trainees in the Oman Sail Women’s Programme and within a year, 21 had been awarded ISAF accredited sailing instructor certificates, which was acknowledged as an exceptional achievement.
The most promising of this new group of talented sailors have formed the first all-female sailing team in the region. The Women’s Sailing Programme has now become a template for other organisations in Oman and across the Arab world looking to open up opportunities for women. It has demonstrated that young Arab women can pursue their ambitions, be it in sport or in their careers, leading to much wider socio-economic benefits for the Sultanate.