MANILA, PHILIPPINES (5 December 2022) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $7.51 million grant to Maldives to support ADB’s first ever holistic gender equality project in Maldives.

Maldives experiences persistent gender equality gaps, where women continue to shoulder most of the unpaid care work and gender-based violence remains prevalent, but services are limited. Labor force participation of women is 41.6%, while for men it is 84.2%, with 13% of women unemployed due to caregiver and domestic work responsibilities compared to 1% of men. The 2016–2017 Maldives Demographic and Health Survey found that 17% of women aged 15–49 years had experienced physical violence since age 15, and 11% had experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

“The ADB grant will support the Government of Maldives in transformative gender equality initiatives that will minimize gender-based violence and remove barriers that prevent equal rights, participation, and benefits for women,” said ADB Urban Development Specialist for South Asia Charlene Liau. “This is consistent with ADB’s country partnership strategy for Maldives, which commits to reducing gender disparities by sharpening its approach to gender equality.”

The grant will support innovative gender approaches, which have a catalytic role in changing social norms and discriminatory practices. It will support, among others, the Maldives Bureau of Statistics in addressing critical gender equality and social inclusion data gaps in the national statistical data system, and the Ministry of Finance in integrating gender-responsive budgeting into the national budget system. It will help build climate-resilient shelters for domestic violence and gender-based violence survivors in Addu, Hulhumalé, and Raa-Ungoofaaru.

The grant comes from the Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries.

A technical assistance will also be provided to strengthen the social service system for aged care, early childcare, and domestic violence and gender-based violence services (DV/GBV). It will also establish partnerships between civil society organizations and government to prevent DV/GBV and improve access to DV/GBV services and aged care. The technical assistance is estimated to cost $2.5 million, of which $500,000 will be financed on a grant basis by ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund, and $2.0 million will be financed on a grant basis by the Japan Special Fund.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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