Noting that 45% of the Maldivian workforce consisted of women, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has insisted that there be no discrimination between men and women in performing jobs, or in taking on different tasks. The President made these remarks while speaking at the inauguration of the women’s expo Heevaagi Kanbalun.
The expo organised with the initiation of First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim, is a platform providing Maldivian women to participate in the national productivity, to empower women economically, and to encourage women to share their skills and experiences at a wider scope.
Speaking at the function this evening, the President underscored the administration’s policy to empower women. He said that the administration does not only advocate for the rights of women, but also accords high priority to making women economically self-sufficient. Noting that the administration takes various measures to empower women, the President said that the administration aims to appoint women to at least 40% of seats in the board of directors at state companies and those with majority government shares. He also pointed out that the current numbers would not be less than 20%.
In his speech, the President said that the main purpose of organising such an expo was to retain women in the production industry, and to facilitate ways for women to earn a living while working from home. In this regard, the President reaffirmed that the Ministry of Economic Development will work with private entrepreneurs to provide markets for these products made by women.
President Yameen also highlighted the revisions made by the administration to the national curriculum. In this regard, the President noted that such modifications were brought to avoid any child from being excluded from the education process, and later from employment opportunities. He stated that the purpose of introducing B-Tech education to the national curriculum was to include those students who struggle in academics, and teach them practical skills by the time they finished school, and to facilitate further employment opportunities.
The President highlighted that there were many students who sought skills development lessons within the school system, apart from book learning — currently about 20% of secondary school students were enrolled in the B-Tech stream. He also noted that students were now learning important life skills by the time they finished school.
In his speech, President Yameen praised and thanked the First Lady for her efforts in promoting women’s efforts, empowering women, and for her role towards making them economically sufficient. He also encouraged her to continue in her endeavours.
A total of 640 women participated in Heevaagi Kanbalun expo. The President awarded those who achieved overall ranking positions in the expo, while the First Lady awarded those who won first place in all categories and levels.