The status of Women in the Maldives has traditionally been fairly high, as attested to in part by the existence of four Sultanas. Women do not veil, nor are they strictly secluded, but special sections are reserved for women in public places, such as stadiums and mosques. Women do not accept their husbands' names after marriage but maintain their maiden names. Inheritance of property is through both males and females.
As Muslims, men may have as many as four wives, but there is little evidence to suggest that many have more than one. Women have always had an important role in the family and community. In the early history of Maldives, it was not uncommon to have a woman as a Sultana or ruler and it has been suggested that the society was once a matriarchy.
In today’s society women hold strong positions in government and business. A large percentage of government employees are women. The male female ratio of enrollment and completion of education to secondary school standards remains equivalent. Women serve in the cabinet and the Parliament.
Maldivian women had achieved many achievements and progress in the educational, health and labour sectors. 50 percent of the students, who have reached the top ten in the educational sectors, are of female Maldivian students. 59 percent of the 15,000 students studying from the higher-education facilities are female students. 70 percent of the 826 students studying in the National University in March 2014 are also female students.
Maldivian women are also currently represented as 45 percent of people working in the bazaars of the employment sector, 53 percent of Civil Service employees, 38 percent of people working in the educational sector, 22 percent of people working in the health sector, 4 percent of people working in the tourism sector and 68 percent of people working in small businesses and various works at home.
However there are reports that female circumcision is undergoing resurgence in the Maldives, particularly on the outer islan ds, where local imams hold significant importance. Maldivian society is growing more oppressive towards women. Being a woman is harder now. The religious Wahhabist scholars preach more forcefully than anyone else can. They have this backing of religion as a tool. The practice of flogging women for extramarital sex is common across the Maldives. Domestic violence is common. Maldivian women are abused, sexually or physically.
Women constitute just 5.9% seats in Parliament as of 2015.