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Quota proposed for women in political party leadership

Political parties supported reserving 30 percent of posts for women.



The Elections Commission and political parties have agreed to introduce a quota to increase the number of women in leadership posts.

The low participation of women in politics was among the issues discussed at a forum held Monday night to propose changes to the Political Party Act.

Representatives of political parties supported a mandatory 30 percent quota for women in organs such as executive councils, according to media reports.

Civil society groups argued in favour of quotas as the quickest way to increase female participation. Other proposed changes included requiring at least one female vice president if a party has more than one deputy leader.

Opposition MP-elect Adam Shareef proposed a higher allocation from annual state funds as an incentive for parties that provide opportunities for female leaders.

Only 35 of the 386 candidates who contested the parliamentary elections in April were women, of whom only four were elected to the 87-member house.

Impediments to women’s participation identified by a 2015 study included “structural and social issues such as lack of full-day child-care mechanisms, social stigma for women campaigning as candidates, social norms of women as homemakers, limited mobility, difficulty in accessing resources, and a lack of public speaking and campaign management,” according to Transparency Maldives.

The NGO’s 2015 Democracy Survey found that a majority of Maldivians believed men make better leaders than women and only 39 percent agreed that a woman could serve as president.