10 October 2016, Male'; At the United Nations General Assembly debate on Advancement of Women, the Maldives has urged to ensure that women are not treated as followers or merely beneficiaries, but as leaders, contributors and agents of change.
Delivering the statement at the Third Committee on behalf of the Maldives delegation, Ms. Zeena Mohamed Didi, Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to the United Nations, highlighted the country’s efforts towards achieving gender equality. “Our policy to achieve gender equality is clear: continue to invest in girls and women; continue to give them the right tools to realize their true potential; and continue to introduce structural and normative changes to enable women to fight for their constitutionally guaranteed rights before the law”, the Committee was told.
The Maldives statement noted that its inclusive education policy guaranteed that all girls have equal access to education. Similarly, the country has ensured that the same inclusivity was extended to the workplace, with the Employment Act guaranteeing men and women equal access to employment and equal pay for equal work. Through policy, the Government has ensured that in state owned companies, at least one third of all board members are women. The Committee was also told that the government has adopted measures to integrate gender perspectives in policy, planning, and budgeting at the national level.
In its statement, the Maldives highlighted the existing cultural and structural barriers that limit women's participation in public life, despite the progress the country has achieved. The statement noted that the recently enacted Gender Equality Act, “which is a groundbreaking legislation in the country's history”, sets out the role of the Government, business entities, non governmental organizations and other employers in the implementation of this Act, as well as requires the State and political parties to ensure that equal opportunities exist for women and men to participate at all levels in political life.