Mariyam Manike weaving reed mat - a traditional craft form of the Maldives, an effort at revival
  • Mariyam Manike weaving reed mat - a traditional craft form of the Maldives, an effort at revival

Though our cultural values, our religious teachings, and the general world view dictates men to be the bread winner and women to be house keepers, women from time immemorial has had a role in the income generation of the household. This has been very true for the Maldives.

Our women, in addition to their household chores of cooking cleaning and looking after their children, they play a role in making an income for the family. Many do it out of necessity because they are either divorced or the husband is not able to earn enough to cater for the family, or because the husband is not generous enough to cater for the family's needs.

Whatever the reason, we see women going strong. I have recently had the pleasure of visiting some of our women workers in the other parts of the Maldives and have fallen in love with them and their spirit. Also, I witnessed a concerning trend. The women in their 40s and above are hard at work doing this and that while the young women just idles around not doing anything of their own, nor helping their aging mothers, aunts, or other relatives.

This photo slideshow is a tribute to the hardworking women and a plea for the young.

I was not able to capture every women I met as not everyone consented to being photographed. There were many women who felt they were not dressed for a photo (they were hard at work and sweaty :), there were others who were shy of the camera, there were others who thought a photo is rubbish. But thankfully there were women who were willing to accept my request to pose for my camera. I thank them humbly. A few of them took a moment to share with me why they work and how much they earn. Some work for the pleasure of working, some work to supplement the husband's income, some work to give an education to their children, some work to build their houses, some work to look after the abandoned children from a broken family, some work for survival. Some had heart-wrenching stories of struggles to reach where they are today. Some are still in bad shape. But all of them had hope in their eyes, talent in their minds, and magic in their hands. I humbly acknowledge all the formal education I have had is no match to the experience they carry with them.

This multimedia story is part of an assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous digital empowerment and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future 2013 Assignments: Multimedia.

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Dear Aminah,

What a beautiful piece and a strong testimony of the work that women do, often in the shadows daily! Thank you for reminding us of the enormous contributions women make to household income and to a country's economy. Thank you also for this slice of life of the women in the Maldives! Great work!

Delphine Criscenzo

...And, first, welcome back ! I have wondered where you have been for last few months - thus, reading your post today is a great treat ! The hopeful message in your post is shimmering and much significant, dear Aminah ! It would be brilliant if you and Isha got together at Male' and document a short film or a photo exhibition - for you both share similar values in social-cultural-political address. Keep penning with that 'nerve' in you - it speaks across spaces...!

Cheers, Shaheen


It was good to go read your article on the women of Maldives. I think every woman in the world, wherever she hails from has been such the nobler of the either sex and has been considered weaker for her soft and compassionate attitude. It is this which makes us strong and lets us stand away from the rest. The picture too speaks volumes,even though the woman in it must be earning for her family inspite of all odds and problems,her smile and the shine in her eyes speak,she is a winner! Thanks for the wonderful share! Best wishes, Soumya

Best wishes,


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