29 August 2015, Tokyo

Foreign Minister Dunya has today delivered her statement on ‘Girls Education’ at the High Level Roundtable of the World Assembly for Women 2015 being held in Tokyo. During her statement Minister stated that ‘education is the key for empowering the girl child and enables the girl child to unleash the power of human creativity and take her share in nation building. Continuing with her statement Minister noted that Men and women, girls and boys in the Maldives enjoy parity in literacy rates, enrolment, and educational attainments at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Minister further underlined that in recent years, girls have surpassed boys in both the number of graduates and the level of achievement in primary, secondary and higher education.

While noting the progress in advancement of women in the Maldives, Minister highlighted on several measures taken to harmonize its national policies, laws and programmes, with its international commitments. This progress is represented by the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1993, the provision for the guarantee of equality between men and women in the 2008 Constitution, the provision for affirmative action in the Constitution, the adoption of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, the Sexual Harassment and Abuse Prevention Act and Sexual Offences Act and the currently ongoing process of drafting a Gender Equality Law’ said Minister Dunya. Minister further stated that the ‘Maldives has continued its advocacy efforts to combat gender based violence and discrimination within the framework of the Human Rights Council, and also works to advance women’s rights through its membership of the Executive Board of UN Women’.

During her speech Minister noted some of the prevailing challenges faced by girls across the world. ‘Girls and women are still expected to bear a greater burden of family responsibility, which limits their opportunities for higher education and formal employment and , as witnessed in many parts of the world, various social, cultural and religious norms prevalent in society continue to constrain women’s ability to engage effectively in public life. Minister stated.

Concluding her statement Minister reiterated Government’s commitment to achieve gender equality, and to work at both local and national level towards reducing unique challenges and barriers faced by girls and women. ‘Gender equality is not merely something we would like to achieve, it is what is right, it is what is just, and it is what makes economic and moral sense; said Minister Dunya.