Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services (MoGFSS) has launched the National Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP), formulated in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives, with the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Government of Australia.
The GEAP is a framework which outlines the Government of the Maldives’ policy targets and strategies relating to gender equality, for the five-year period 2022 – 2026. It sets out realistic strategic goals that will help achieve key milestones in national priority areas on gender equality, as well as fulfilling international commitments towards gender equality, including achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recommendations from the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The GEAP was developed in fulfilment of the requirements under Article 42 of the Gender Equality Act (Law No. 18/2016), which requires the adoption of of a National Policy on Gender Equality (GEP) and a National Gender Equality Action Plan to ensure the effective implementation of the Law within set timelines.
“Removing the structural barriers for women in the society is imperative for us to make the much-needed advancements in gender equality and fulfil our obligations under the Gender Equality Act, as well as our international commitments. It is also vital that a concerted and coordinated effort be made, to establish a strong framework for measurable actions to achieve gender equality,” stated H.E. Ms. Aishath Mohamed Didi, Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services.
The newly launched GEAP is a derivative of the GEP, developed by MoGFSS in partnership with UNDP Maldives and ratified in September 2019. Both the GEP and GEAP include a framework of actions for the attainment of five policy goals in the following emphasised areas:
- Leadership and Governance: ensuring the equal participation and equitable representation of both women and men in governance and leadership positions
- Economic Empowerment: ensuring the equal participation of women and men in economic development, engagement, and empowerment
- Institutional Gender Mainstreaming: ensuring the capacity-building of relevant government institutions to address the specific needs of women, men, girls and boys.
- Gender Based Violence: ensuring greater personal security of families and reduced violence against women, men, and children, and,
- Access to Justice: ensuring equal opportunities for access to justice for women, men, girls, and boys.
Australian High Commissioner to Maldives, H.E. David Holly said that the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic “offers us the chance to build back better, with women at the centre of response and recovery efforts. Like the Maldivian Government, Australia has a steadfast commitment to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.” In welcoming the launch, the High Commissioner said that the GEAP “encourages each one of us with an interest in a sustainable and prosperous future for Maldives accountable for considering gender in the way we achieve this future, and holds us to account to our own promises.”
The National Steering Committee, chaired by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, will be overseeing, and providing guidance to ensure the effective implementation of the GEP. The Committee will consist of representatives across all sectors of the Maldives and will be supported and advised by relevant technical groups.
The GEAP will mainstream gender into the Government’s work across different sectors, enabling state actors, private sector companies, civil society organisations and gender advocates to translate the Gender Equality Law and Policy into actions.
“The launch of GEAP marks a ground-breaking and positive shift in power and perspective and opens a new chapter in advancing gender equality. The monumental conclusion comes at a critical moment as UNDP Maldives gears to deliver our offer of support for the country for the next five years, with bold gender equality commitments in alignment with all the SDGs, including the empowerment of women and ensuring their meaningful representation and participation, particularly at the decision-making levels and in sectors dominated by men. We are thankful for and rely on the continued investments, commitments and energy from our ecosystem of partners to ensure faster progress for women and girls than we have seen before, and ensure no one is left behind,” said Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative to the Maldives.
Following the launch, UNDP Maldives will be working together with the MoGFSS to support the roll-out and implementation of the Gender Equality Action Plan.