IC Conference
ter nformation, ommunication & ducation work

Global Knowledge Network On Voter Education - learning from each other

Gender Mainstreaming Strategies

Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Gender mainstreaming focus on equitable distribution of resources between women and men through equal opportunities policy at all levels of the organization along with engendering of knowledge, skills and attitudes. The strong focus on the advancement of women and gender equality has led to increased international recognition of the importance of gender perspectives, such as poverty reduction, human rights and good governance. These perspectives must be taken into account in data collection, analysis, policy making and planning, to ensure the achievement of gender equality, effective and sustainable development and peace and security. Gender mainstreaming strategies and gender equality strategies are important for reducing existing gaps, serving as a channel for promotion of gender equality and creating a constituency for changing the majority. The foremost gain of Gender mainstreaming is it frontrunners to formulate an empowering space for women.
At the end of 2014, Election Commission of Maldives adopted a more proactive role in promoting for women participation as a main factor to promote Gender Mainstreaming. As a fact the strategic plan of 2016-2020 was launched in the year 2016 with pillars exclusive for gender mainstreaming. To align with the strategic plan of 2016-2020, equal opportunities were given to women and men.
Firstly, to advance women’s participation in internal and external operations, focal points were designated impartially by giving equal and fair opportunities for women working in ECM along with electing members for ECM committees. The main aim of determining the gender equality is bring out the most fruitful results with both gender and to advocate women empowerment.
Secondly, to develop and adopt Gender policy the Election Commission of Maldives had meetings with NGOs at regular intervals along with the brainstorming sessions. As a result, this tabulated feedbacks and recommendations of the NGOs and drafted the policy in collaboration with NGOs to promote women contribution while, boosting their empowerment.
At present only 05 of 85 parliamentarians are women, less than 6% of the 302 candidates who stood for election in the 2014 Parliamentary elections, only 23 were women. A survey conducted by Transparency Maldives found that 62% of those surveyed believe men make better leaders than women. This signifies a major challenge for women who wish to enter politics in Maldives. Certain women are ready to believe their gender is a handicap. The ability to excel in things still makes some people awe. The biggest hindrances faced to Maldivian women are the cultural barriers, stereotyping; societal expectation for women to be vulnerable regard to the lack of independence and opportunities in political field. As a fact is nearly impossible to seek and contest for the party seats since for the society, it can be threatening to break into industries that males dominate, but women have so much value to take that leap.
Today, even after all these challenges the Election Commission of Maldives is one of the few organizations in Maldives, where skilled labour; women contributes in the technical level decision making. Through the internal statics, it is identified that 62% of staffs are women aged 20 to 35 in average. However, women working in ECM continue to be under represented at policy making level as the members in the commission contributes only the male gender.
Nevertheless, the Electoral processes and policies are pro-actively promoted with in the ECM. The participation of women in the electoral process has increased gender balance at all levels of the ECM. As a result of numerous awareness and campaign held by Election Commission of Maldives there is improved political participation of women, both at the local and national level, as voters, observers, election staff, candidates and elected representatives.
Gender equality and the right to equal participation in all sectors of society are fundamental Human Rights. Gender mainstreaming is a process for ensuring equity, equality and gender justice in all of the critical areas of the lives of women and men thus; it increases the effectiveness and efficiency at the work and enables to balance the economy as a whole. Even though the circumstances lead to the majority of gender equality arguments to focus on women, we shouldn’t forget that the goal is to achieve similar outcomes for everyone. It is known that men are more rational and women are more emotional, let’s undertake the assumption, then the brainstorming and decisions made will be better if they are taken by both sexes.

NewsLetterPart of a training programme conducted.
NewsLetterCurrent Parliament Members of Maldives

Nazma Nizam
Assistant Director, Commissioners Bureau,
Elections Commission of Maldives