6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?

Cultural, religious and social norms of the Maldives, in certain circumstances, may not promote women’s equal participation. Photo: UNDP Maldives 2012.

There is gender parity in primary education with 100% net enrolment of both girls and boys while there is more female enrolment in secondary levels of education. Although gender disparity exists in tertiary education, with more males holding tertiary qualifications, the gap appears to be narrowing. The ratio of women to men with tertiary qualifications in 1990 was 24 percent compared to 58 percent in 2006. With the higher net enrolment ratio of girls in secondary education the gender gap in tertiary education is predicted to narrow further. Although women’s access to paid employment is lower than men’s, the proportion of women in paying jobs is increasing steadily. In 2006, the share of women in the labour force was 37 percent compared to 20 percent in 1990. 

Overall, the gender gap in Maldives is closing, albeit perhaps slower than is necessary to meet this MDG by 2015. Cultural, religious and social norms of the country, in certain circumstances, may not promote women’s equal participation; isolation and a lack of access to resources likewise pose major challenges too.

UNDP Contributes to Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in line with UNDP's Gender Equality Strategy of 2008-2011.

Gender is mainstreamed throughout our programmes with the aim to address traditional stereotypes related to the roles of women and men, to improve systematic collection of sex disaggregated data and information on gender-specific issues.

UNDP supports UN joint-programmes which seek to promote women’s empowerment by facilitating their participation in governance to overcome constraints; fostering constructive debate; supporting women’s financial independence; providing women with judicial recourse when wronged; and encouraging their active involvement in decisions that will affect their lives.

UNDP also contributed to the development of the UN joint project addressing Gender Based Violence.

UNDP's work in the Maldives

  • Women as Leaders

    Women as Leaders

    “In the forum we learnt that contrary to popular belief held by our communities, we can contribute on the same level as men. It has shown us the way to go forward, even with the challenges we face.” more

  • The Bill to Address Domestic Violence Passed by the Maldives Parliament

    DV Bill

    The Bill to Address Domestic Violence Passed by the Maldives Parliamentmore

Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament