A diver, nurse and policewoman were the winners of the Rehendhi Awards handed out on International Women’s Day in recognition of service to the nation.
This year’s winners were Zoona Naseem, a successful dive instructor, Aminath Waheed, one of the country’s longest-serving nurses, and Inspector Fathmath Nashwa, head of the police road safety unit.
Vice President Abdulla Jihad presented the annual awards Thursday morning and pledged the current administration’s commitment to promoting gender equality.
In her remarks at the ceremony, Gender Minister Aminath Zenysha said no job or occupation was closed to Maldivian women and highlighted achievements in reducing infant mortality and providing opportunities for women to pursue higher education.
She also acknowledged the need to tackle the increasing number of domestic violence and sexual harassment cases filed with the gender ministry.
Special activities were meanwhile organised at government, private and state-owned company offices to mark International Women’s Day, including a red carpet welcome for female staff at the tax authority.
But the celebrations drew criticism from some Maldivians on social media who called for concrete action or policy changes instead of marking the occasion with decorations and gifts.
The representation of women in decision-making posts is low in the Maldives. Women account for only five out of 85 lawmakers, six out of more than 180 judges, 40 out of 653 local council members, and 22 out of 132 ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers.
— Ministry of Gender & Family (@Min_Gender) March 8, 2018
— MIRA (@MIRAmaldives) March 8, 2018
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018 at MTCC.
Our female employees have been continuously proving that there is absolutely no limit to what they as women can accomplish!
— MTCC Plc (@MTCCPlc) March 8, 2018
— STO Plc (@sto_mkt) March 8, 2018
— FishAgri (@FishAgri) March 8, 2018
— MWSC (@MWSC_Official) March 8, 2018
This Women’s Day, we are delighted to kick off #WomenWhoInspire, a video series about inspirational women in our community.
Meet Zoona Naseem, the first female PADI Course Director in Maldives. This is her story.
— Bank of Maldives (@bankofmaldives) March 8, 2018
— STO Plc (@sto_mkt) March 8, 2018
Let's commit to eliminating the gender pay gap in the public and private sectors by ensuring women are paid the same as their male counterparts, increasing women's representation in leadership roles & providing equal access to opportunities.#PressForProgress #AnhenVERIN #IWD2018 pic.twitter.com/PM80Q4Wjus
— Transparency MV (@TransparencyMV) March 8, 2018
On #WomensDay Join us in celebrating women who have smashed the #glassceiling. #TimeIsNow to speak up and take action for gender equality. #Champions4Equality #PressForProgress #GlobalGoals pic.twitter.com/c4K8NT7A2g
— UNDP Maldives (@UNDPMaldives) March 8, 2018
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018. In MMA we strive to be an exemplary institution when it comes to gender equality and gender parity. #InternationalWomensDay #PressforProgress pic.twitter.com/DGHnt9QuVL
— MMA (@MMA_Maldives) March 8, 2018
— ACC-MALDIVES (@ACC_Maldives) March 8, 2018
Happy International Women's Day 2018!
Today at HDC we are celebrating all the inspiring and amazing women in our workforce. Together we shall press for progress towards gender parity.#PressforProgress #HDCMaldives #Hulhumalé #YouthCity pic.twitter.com/xtzAeV9gGe
— HDC (@hdcmaldives) March 8, 2018
— Elections Commission (@ElectionsMv) March 8, 2018
Please do not confuse today with Valentine’s Day.
It’s not give-your-wife-chocolates-and-flowers day; it’s give-women-rights-and-respect day!
— Aryj (@Arrryj) March 8, 2018
Staff of Ministry of Home Affairs Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018 pic.twitter.com/jnjF5g6JoT
— Home Ministry, MV (@HomeMinistrymv) March 8, 2018
So basically you celebrated #WomensDay exactly how you perceive women to be in the society… tokens, superficial, reinforcing stereotypes and on top of it all, the two patriarchs can't even stand for women's equality…i mean literally they are seated
— Ahmed Tholal🎈 (@Tholman_79) March 8, 2018
@MIRAmaldives, out of the 29 board members and senior staff, only 9 are women.Please commit to increasing gender representation in senior staff & equal access to opportunities for all women. Women don't need tokenistic celebrations.Commit to real change instead #PressforProgress https://t.co/ndvZUhfQvn
— Sara Naseem 🎈 (@sara_naseem) March 8, 2018
The MDP celebrates all the brave women who continue to fight for gender parity & against discrimination, harassment & misogyny. The MDP calls on the regime to stop continued harassment & abuse of women, esp women detained with political motivations. #WomensDay #PressForProgress pic.twitter.com/Wn7n5acuEX
— MDP Secretariat (@MDPSecretariat) March 8, 2018
— Benefit (@Benefitmv) March 8, 2018