From Oman to the World: Rumaitha Al Busaidi’s Inspirational Journey 

MUSCAT : Oman’s Rumaitha al Busaidi, recognized alongside prominent figures such as attorney and former US First Lady Michelle Obama, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, Ballon d’Or-winning footballer Aitana Bonmatí, AI expert Timnit Gebru, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Hollywood star America Ferrera, and beauty mogul Huda Kattan, in the ‘BBC 100 Women of 2023’, has proven, once again, the global impact she continues to wield with her contributions as a climate change and a women’s rights activist.

This new recognition is underscored by her compelling 2021 TED Talk titled ‘Women and Girls, You Are Part of the Climate Solution,’ which amassed over a million views. 

Rumaitha’s journey reflects an unwavering commitment to overcoming challenges and driving progress. She has carved a niche for herself in myriad fields, leaving an indelible mark on the national and international narrative. An Omani marine scientist, an advocate for environmental youth leadership and the biggest champion for Arab women, she is also an award-winning radio presenter and sportswoman.  

Her dedication to promoting women in sports is evident in her accomplishments — she became the youngest Omani to reach the South Pole, conquered Mount Kilimanjaro and Damavand, and explored all seven continents, swimming in the five oceans. Her passion for adventure has taken her solo to over 70 countries.

As a staunch women’s rights activist, she perceived a knowledge gap in enhancing women’s effectiveness in the workforce and founded WomeX – a 21st-century platform combining AI and culturally-relevant mentoring to empower women to achieve ten times their potential. Geared towards millennial Arab women, WomeX is on a mission to build a culturally-relevant community of girl bosses and rule breakers, empowering them to reach their full potential.

In celebrating Rumaitha Al Busaidi’s inclusion in the BBC 100 Women of 2023, TAS Weekly presents an exclusive interview with this versatile young Omani woman, who truly embodies the saying ‘been there and done that’. 

How does it feel to be named among the BBC 100 Women in 2023? What impact do you hope this recognition will have on the issues you are passionate about?

Being the first Omani to be named on the list is an absolute honor for me. My goal has always been to set an example for the younger generation, to inspire them to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals. With this recognition, I hope to inspire at least one girl to realize that there are no limits to what she can achieve and that she can be whoever she wants to be.

You believe that the number one solution to overcome climate change is to empower women and girls. Could you share your perspective on this?

In my TED Talk titled ‘Women and Girls: You Are Part of the Climate Solution,’ I shared my belief that women are the key to combating climate change. This belief is supported by scientific data from Project Drawdown, which mapped out all possible solutions, and educating and empowering women and girls came out as number one out of the 73 solutions. The main reason behind this is the multiplier effect that women play in their communities. When a woman learns and is empowered to do something, she not only keeps it to herself but also ensures her whole community is aware and driven to that specific goal. You can see the multiplier effect in the energy and water-saving habits that our grandmothers and mothers passed down, which we have carried forward to our children.

What are some of your key contributions in the areas of women’s rights and empowerment? What motivated you to become an advocate for change in these areas?

I never set out to become a champion for women’s rights. I simply pursued what I wanted to do. I became a football player and later the first football analyst/pundit in the Arab world because I love the sport and was given the opportunity to excel. I also became the youngest Omani woman to reach the South Pole to raise awareness about the environment. As women, we are often doubted due to societal structures, but it really boils down to having uncomfortable conversations and navigating those spaces while remaining true to yourself, which can be a difficult journey. However, I strongly believe that it is possible to achieve whatever you set your mind to as long as you remain strong and steadfast on the journey.

Have you encountered any specific challenges or obstacles in your journey towards empowering women? How do you navigate and overcome challenges in your work?

Of course, no journey is ever easy. Obstacles show up in different shapes and forms, be it physical obstacles in sports and adventure, or mental ones when you question how to navigate societal spaces. Especially in my sports journey, I have faced societal obstacles where I was told that I didn’t belong. I think the most important aspect of this is to remind yourself that you are not alone. Everyone who wants to make a change will face some sort of obstacles and resistance. It’s important to find your allies, confidantes, and cheerleaders because we all need them in our lives. Additionally, never mind the critics; they can say what they want, but if it’s not constructive feedback, there is no point in listening and letting it lower your morale. But most importantly, finding your purpose and reminding yourself that it’s not about you, but something much bigger than you – your purpose.

What are your future goals and aspirations in terms of women’s rights and empowerment in Oman?  

His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik has done a remarkable job in pushing for Omani women to have more rights than ever before, and I am grateful to be an Omani citizen with a basic law that guarantees equal rights for both men and women. However, we still need to see more progress in our society regarding women’s potential, whether it is in sports, elected offices, or other areas. I hope that one day, we will see more women represented in the Shura Council, where they can be leaders who represent our interests and gain our trust and votes. I also hope that more fathers will empower their daughters to pursue their dreams and support them along the way. 

What advice do you have for young women aspiring to make a difference in their communities?  

Your existence serves a higher purpose, one that goes beyond the mundane aspects of everyday life. Take the time to reflect on your innermost desires and beliefs, delving deep into your soul to find the motivation that fuels your passion. Once you have this sense of purpose, you will be unstoppable. You will be able to achieve anything, overcome any obstacle, and make a positive impact on the world around you.

The post From Oman to the World: Rumaitha Al Busaidi’s Inspirational Journey  appeared first on The Arabian Stories News.

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