His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed,
Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations at the
United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the
Realizing the promise of the women and peace and security agenda: ensuring its full implementation including the participation of women
27 October 2017
Thank you [Madam/Mr] President,
My delegation wishes to thank France, the current President of the Council, for convening this very timely open debate on women, peace, and security. I also wish to extend our appreciation to the Deputy Secretary-General and the dedicated efforts regarding this issue.
Women can change the world for the better. For that to happen, national Governments and international organisations, such as the United Nations, must provide the space for women to shape key decisions concerning national security. We are strongly encouraged by the commitment of this Council, to reinvigorate the discussion on women's participation in peace and security. In many ways, the landmark Resolution, adopted seventeen years ago, changed our perception towards ensuring increased representation of women at all levels of decision making in national, regional, and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts, as well as peace building. Yet, seventeen years after the Resolution, and forty years after CEDAW, we have achieved far too little.
The Maldives is blessed in that it is a peace loving and peaceful country. At the same time, we, in the Maldives, also recognise women's role in peace-making, peacekeeping, and peace building, as part of the larger, holistic agenda, for gender equality, and women's empowerment.
The principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of the Maldives Constitution. The Maldives has achieved gender parity in education, with more female graduates than male, and more women with doctorate degrees in higher education. Women comprise of over 60 percent of the civil service staff, and 40 percent of the judiciary staff, inclusive of court officers and administrative staff. National laws have been strengthened, with new laws on sexual harassment, domestic violence, and sexual offences, to ensure protection of women from sexual, physical and psychological abuse and violence. As a further step towards women's empowerment, new policies have been established by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, which guarantees 30% seats to women, in all management boards in State companies.
Legislation, laws, and policies can take us only so far. As we see it, Resolution 1325 with gender equality at its core, can only be realised through a change in our social practices; moving towards a culture of respect for women, a culture of inclusivity, a culture of recognising that women, by the very virtue of being human, have equals rights as men. Changing laws are important, but ultimately, it is the change in "hearts and minds" that matter.
Research shows that seeing more women in positions of power, in decision making roles can, in turn, increases the acceptance, and thereby, the perception towards women in decision making. This is why the Government of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has focused on ensuring that women have an equal share in key decisions of the Government. This is why our police force is celebrated as having the highest percentage of women in South-east Asia. This is why here at the United Nations, our envoys, our messengers of peace, must include women, and at the top levels. As a symbol of commitment, the Secretary-General could perhaps increase the number of women SRSGs, especially in conflict resolutions.
Countries and societies will become stronger, more prosperous, more stable, and indeed more peaceful, when women are agents and managers of change. This Council can, and should, drive that change. The Council can do that with more credibility if it is more inclusive, and the Maldives stands ready to contribute to, and be the partner in, shaping our common future; a shared destiny where women will call the shots.
I thank you.