Women in The Maldives
As a new democracy that has recently attained the status of a middle income country, Maldives stands relatively higher in development indicators than other countries in the region. However, it falls significantly short of achieving MDG goal 3 of promoting gender equality and empowering women.
Of the 77 seats in the Maldivian National Parliament, only 5 are held by women. Not only are women severely underrepresented in the government, there is a lack of legislation targeting the interests of women. Maldives does not have a law against domestic violence at present. This is especially problematic as according to the Maldives Study on Women’s Health and Life Expectancy 2007, 1 in 3 women in the country have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, often at the hands of an intimate partner or family member. The situation of women in the country is worsening rapidly with the rise of religious fundamentalism and insecurity.
UN Women in The Maldives
Since December 2011, UN Women is part of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Maldives. We support the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework Action Plan 2011 -2015, specifically in regard to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
UN Women together with the UN team in Maldives aims to intensify efforts to ensure gender equality. A gender advocacy working group was established in 2010 which is promoting awareness regarding gender-based violence through its Thinakun Ekeh Campaign as well by organizing events such as the 500 km run in Male City during the global 16 Days of Activism for Eliminating Violence Against Women.
UN Women is supporting the national government in compiling a report on milestones achieved in relation to CEDAW. With other UN agencies, we are also supporting the implementation of CEDAW recommendations and concluding remarks. UN Women Maldives is focusing on improving the capacities of government and non government bodies to advocate for, and implement CEDAW and similar national and international instruments that aim to improve the status of women.