Maldives - Social development

The government has focused its spending on social services and preventive health services. There is no organized social welfare system. Assistance is traditionally provided through the extended family. Employees are entitled to medical and maternity leave.

In spite of traditional Islamic restrictions on the role of women, they have increased their participation in public life. Under the terms of the 1997 constitution, men and women are considered equal before the law. Women usually receive pay equal to men in similar positions. A Gender Equality Council was created to assist the government in strengthening the role of women in society. However, Islamic law discriminates against women in matters of divorce and inheritance. Women are less able to initiate and obtain a divorce. Few women choose to participate in politics, largely because of tradition and custom. Violence against women and domestic abuse are not widespread problems. Although children's rights are explicit in law and provisions are in place to protect children from abuse, education is not compulsory. Female children are much more likely to be withdrawn from school than boys.

Human rights violations by the government include arbitrary arrest and detention and infringement of the freedoms of assembly, association, the press, and religion.

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