Excerpt from ACE PROJECT
There is low representation of women in elected leadership positions in the Maldives. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Maldives ranks 136th out of 154 countries in term of the number of women Members of Parliament.
Most of the islands and cities in the Maldives have a Women’s Development Committee (WDC), which works under the local council. WDC members are elected and serve three-year terms. Since 1982, WDCs have been active on many islands and provided a platform for women to participate in the development of their communities. However, despite having their mandate outlined in Article 35 of the Decentralization Act which gave them legal standing that had previously been absent following decentralization in 2010, an absence of funding has crippled many WDCs.
Although the percentages of women contesting elected office are extremely low, anecdotal evidence suggests that women have played a major role in political party activities at the grassroots level, organizing and attending campaign rallies and conducting door-to-door outreach in significant numbers. However, this has not translated into leadership roles within political parties, even in the women’s wings.
IFES met with the five main political parties to learn how their party structure incorporates women. All parties either have a women’s wing or are amending their charters to institute women’s wings in 2014. Some interviewees suggested that despite the existence of women’s wings in political parties, women continue to be underrepresented in decision-making across political parties. At the leadership level, political parties designate one to three slots for women representatives on the party’s council, and some of the political parties allocate seats for women at the deputy leadership level.
PDF : Assessment of Women’s Development Committees in the Maldives (Transparency Maldives: 2015)
PDF : Qualitative Assessment: Perceptions about Women’s Participation in Public Life in the Maldives (IFES: 2015)
PDF : Women’s Empowerment in Political Processes in the Maldives (IFES: 2014)
Link : Survey reveals barriers for women’s political participation (Maldives Independent: Oct 21, 2015)