Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has urged women to contest for all seats in the upcoming local council election.
Nasheed made the statement when councillors expressed concern on the recent amendments to the Decentralization Act that mandates 33% of all councils to be occupied women, at the 'Viyavathi Raajje' councillors' symposium currently ongoing at Crossroads Maldives.
Speaking passionately, Nasheed said there is no loss to men if 33% of councils are occupied by women. It should not be an issue if two seats on five seat councils are occupied by women, said Nasheed.
"I encourage all women of Maldives to contest for all seats in the local council election, including those that may be occupied by men," said Nasheed.
Nasheed said sometimes even difficult tasks must be done, and the parliament undertook such a decision in approving the amendments to the Decentralization Act for one-third of seats on councils to be occupied by women. The outcome in countries that allocated a certain number of seats for women on councils has been successful, said Nasheed.
Holding women in high regard, Nasheed said he has not seen a women 'lesser' than him, and that he has not met a woman who is not capable of doing anything that he himself can do. His whole life has been backed by women until now, said Nasheed.
"Even if it is weight lifting, women will lift just as much as men can. Be it weight lifting, or digging, or doing just about anything, I have no doubts. I do not know any woman who is 'lesser' than me. I do not know any woman who is incapable of doing anything that I myself can do. I am also acquainted with women. I have not yet met an incapable woman. My whole life has been run by women," said Nasheed.
384 seats have been reserved for women in the upcoming local council election slated for April 4, 2020. This includes 372 seats on island councils and 12 seats on city councils.
The decision to allocate a reserved number of seats to women on the local councils have prompted debate among councillors and senior politicians, with some speaking against the amendment.