Dr. Sharifa Al Yahyai

Former Minister of Social Development, Sultanate of Oman
Academic Specialist in Women’s Studies
Board Member of Arab Women Foundation
Member of Advisory Board in University of Business & Technology- Jeddah

Speech title : “Rethinking Women in politics- sharing a life story”


As a researcher, writer, and motivational speaker, Dr Al Yahyai is an academic expert in women rights in both the Sultanate of Oman and GCC. She played a significant role in improving national polices related to women rights in Oman during her position as a Minister of Social Development from 2004 to 2011.

During her role as a Minister of Social Development, Dr Al Yahyai had an important role in the history of Omani Women which resulted in designating October 17th as the Omani Women’s Day by His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman.

Since her appointment as Minister of Social Development in 2004, Dr Al Yahyai has been participating actively in a number of national and international conventions related women’s empowerment, child rights, civil society and the overall social development in Oman. She presented a number of papers on women’s empowerment, leadership and examining legislation and practice in Oman in national and international conferences. On the policy-making level in Oman, she was appointed as a board member in a number of national councils such as the Higher Education Council, The Research Council and headed the National Committee of Family Affairs, and the UN CEDAW Committee. Most importantly, in Nov 2005, Dr Al Yahyai has received Civil Ordinance of Oman- Class II by HM The Sultan Qaboos. In 2008, Dr Al Yahyai has awarded the Arab Woman distinguished Award from Arab Women Foundation in social Work.  In Dec 2018, Dr. al Yahyai received the Arab Women Award of Year 2018 by London Arabia Foundation and Regent London University.

During her academic role in Sultan Qaboos University prior to being a Minister of Social Development, she published a number of studies relevant to gulf literature, Omani poems and women’s social and cultural values. From 2001 – 2004 she was a Professor in the Department of Arabic Literature in Sultan Qaboos University and currently a visiting lecturer in College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Dr Al Yahyai holds PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from University of Leeds, UK and MA in Modern Arabic Literature from Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman.