As a young democracy, the Maldives sees women rights advancement as a core element to ensure a sustainable future. Since 2008, the Maldives have consistently worked towards the advancement of women as a community, regardless of cultural, religious and economic specificities. The insular and vulnerable nature of our nation along with our historical matriarchal model, provide the Maldives with unique features to contribute to the ongoing work done by the Executive Board of UN women.
The Maldivian membership on the Executive Board of UN Women relies on the advancement of three pillars:
Mainstreaming of gender equality across all policy areas to increase women participation
Consolidate the achievements made particularly through gender mainstreaming in all fields;
Government efforts against gender discrimination were guided by the National Gender Equality Policy, which took a twofold approach to the problem: gender mainstreaming in all areas, and strategic action on empowerment and advancement in specific sectors
Access to education and ensure women economic empowerment
The Maldives boasted attaining universal primary and lower secondary education. In addition, to address the low number of women enrolled in high education, we facilitated scholarships for girls and in the fields where they are few, such as pilot training and engineering.
While these achievements are noteworthy, the Government continues to face challenges. With less than 10% of our students continuing on to higher education, the insular nature of our nation limits the number of opportunities available for women in the Maldives.
Ending violence against women
The Maldives set up special family units to investigate domestic violence against women. In addition, we have made physical and sexual abuse within marital relationships illegal, equalized marital rights between genders, and given the police the authority to enforce these new laws.
These achievements and this commitment towards the protection of women is especially essential as the first ever studies on this have shown 1 in 3 women facing some form of abuse over their life-times.