Hard work pays off. One day when I was walking back to the office, a random person on a motorbike stopped and said, “Thank you for all the good work of the UN”, and drove off. It made my day to hear the words of appreciation unexpectedly.
I also felt rewarded to witness Maldivian’s firm commitment to democracy. The voter turnout of 89% in the presidential elections last September was amazing. And all went so peacefully. It was truly democracy in action!
Despite all the work we have done, one big disappointment was to see the results of the recent parliamentary election, only four women elected. We went from 5 female MPs to 4, placing Maldives’ global ranking at 186th out of 191.
If we truly want gender equality we need more women in leadership and decision making roles. We have to be bold. I hope the recent announcement by the President to introduce a quota system at the local council level will become reality and inspire young girls across the country to demand a seat at the table.
Through these days and years, I have also come to realize that it is most important to believe in ourselves, our ability and our potential. I have met so many young girls and women with so much potential in the Maldives. Even the majority of the UN team here in Maldives is female, showing us what we can accomplish when both women and men work together.
Somebody warned me that being a Resident Coordinator would be a very lonely job. It was actually the opposite. Of all nine assignments in the UN, this RC job has been the most gratifying and exciting experience.
What made it so? With a fantastic team in place, we can find solutions to overcome any challenging external factors. I feel very lucky and proud to have been a part of such a great team.
Maldives is the place, where my dream has come true to be a UN Representative.
Maldives is my second home, where I have lived the longest time outside of Japan.
The day has come.
The day to turn back and look at my little Manhattan one more time, with nostalgia before moving to a new country, a new job. My next destination – Incredible India!
Shoko Noda recently finished her assignment as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, and will join as UNDP’s new Resident Representative in India.