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Cherie Meets Women Business Leaders in Oman

On a recent visit to the Middle East, Cherie met Mariam Belhaf, who makes and sells frankincense products in Oman. While Oman, a traditionally male-dominated society, is among the more progressive states in the Gulf region when it comes to women's rights, women still only make up 20% of the workforce. Yet there are growing numbers of women starting up their own business despite discrimination. Mariam started her business in 1997, when she started making frankincense from home, and has seen it grow to include 5 shops, selling oils, creams, incense and perfume products.

I want to prove that a woman can do everything. She can make success by herself, she can prove herself by her own business. I don't need people to help me.

Her success represents a major change for this generation of Omani women. It wasn't until the mid 1990's that women were allowed to enter the work force, but the landscape is slowly shifting with more women than men graduating from University. Mariam says the secret of her success is down to hard work, perseverance and sheer determination. Many women like Mariam are making their mark in a male-dominated society and breaking down barriers for future generations.

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