Female participants in Maldives tourism training declining: Four Seasons Hotels

The Four Seasons Hotels group has encouraged the government to promote technical and vocational training “much more aggressively”, while also expressing concern at declining female participation over the last decade in its apprenticeship program.

Four Seasons has graduated 288 apprenticeship students in the Maldives over the last 12 years, with 47 youths completing the latest program in 2013. However, only one female graduated from the scheme today during a special ceremony held in the capital Male’, while two women are enrolled in the 2014 program.

Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Regional Vice President and General Manager Armando Kraenzlin explained to Minivan News today (April 13) that the number of female apprenticeship program participants has been declining over the last 10 years.

“We never had many participants – 5 to 7 per batch – but it used to be easier [to recruit women] about ten years ago. Unfortunately, numbers have dropped,” he said.

Kraenzlin said he believed the declining number of women in the training program could be the result of more jobs being available outside of the tourism sector, or parents hesitating to let their daughters work at resorts.

“We are talking to government ministries and the press to promote idea of ladies working,” he added.

Also present at today’s ceremony, Education Minister Dr Asim Ahmed told Minivan News that he believed female participation in the tourism sector and Four Seasons apprenticeship program was increasing.

“Last year’s program had one woman, whereas two are enrolled in the 2014 batch. This is gradual improvement, although much less than we would like,” he said.

The small, insular Maldivian island environment instills very close family ties, which makes it difficult for parents to allow their children to leave and “stay long periods in a hotel”, according to Ahmed.

“The culture here is for children to grow up and grow old in same house,” he claimed.

“In the Maldives, you go to work [at a resort] and live there. It’s a very difficult thing to get your head around.”

Ahmed explained the nationwide need for women and parents to be more aware about the conditions of female employees working at resorts, particularly in terms of accommodation arrangements.

“It is important parents buy into this and believe resort work is beneficial and reliable [for their daughters].  The other challenge is we have to provide child care and other facilities that will release the women to go and work,” he added.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb told Minivan News that he believed women were not participating in the industry because families were adhering to the “past culture” of keeping children at home, in addition to being concerned about where their children would be living.

“Females are leaders in the houses. The men go out to work,” said Adheeb.

“Kids grow up and take care of their parents. In many cases, when boys get married they go to the girl’s house to live, because parents like to keep their daughters with them.

“This is why especially parents don’t want their daughters to go and work,” Adheeb added.

“Radical change”

Earlier this year, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News that he believed a “radical change to the tourism approach” was needed in the country.

“Resorts must have close-by islands with flats so employees can go home to their families [after completing their shifts],” Hamid said.

Additionally, he believed the response rate for tourism training programs was decreasing in the country because Maldivian parents were discouraging children from participating due to “religious xenophobia”.

Hamid also accused the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) of propagating the view that “anyone who is not a Muslim is an enemy”.

“I’ll probably be the next Dr Afrasheem Ali for saying this, but maintaining this hate of the ‘other’ is very dangerous and not discussed openly. This confusion has to be sorted. It’s a race against time and ideas,” he stated.

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Adbulla was not responding to calls at time of press.

Public vs private programs

During the graduation ceremony for this year’s apprentice trainees held at Mandhu College in Male’ today, Kraenzlin praised the skills of the latest batch of participants, emphasizing that “the Maldivian work ethic is among the highest I’ve observed in my career”.

“It is very exciting to see what a well spent year can do in the life of a young person,” he added.

“Training young people requires commitment and resources. Resorts taking in the minimum number of apprentices a year and certifying them successfully should be supported, recognized and incentivised,” Kraenzlin said.

“We encourage govt to promote Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) performance objectives much more aggressively. It’s a great system.  In this way hundreds of vocational training positions can be created. We think it’s not that difficult.”

Tourism Minister Adheeb and Education Minister Ahmed also both praised the apprenticeship program for its development of young people in the Maldives.

“This corporate social responsibility effort takes a big burden from the government to the private sector,” stated Adheeb, during his commencement speech.

“All other resorts and general managers should follow the example of Armando [Kraenzlin] and the Four Seasons,” he added.

Minister Ahmed echoed these sentiments stating, “this is an important program for the rest of the tourism industry to emulate”.

Additionally, both ministers mentioned the STEP program, a training and education initiative launched this January for ‘O’ level graduates as part of a collaborative endeavor between the Education Ministry, Tourism Ministry, and Ministry of Human Resources Youth and Sport.  Some 15 partner resorts are also included in the scheme, according to the Education Ministry.

The year long Four Seasons Apprenticeship program was recognized as the Maldives’ first government accredited TVET certified apprenticeship scheme in 2010. Graduates are able to earn TVET, PADI divemaster, or Ministry of Transportation boat driving license certifications, the hospitality company claimed.


16 thoughts on “Female participants in Maldives tourism training declining: Four Seasons Hotels”

  1. Yesterday's Friday sermon demonized democracy and last night the local Islamist NGO held a gathering to talk about women's rights (staying at home cooking and cleaning and reproducing.) Women are increasingly wearing black tents and some are afraid to go out, much less work in a resort.

    Things will get worse obviously as the mullahs gain more power. Women are told that their place is at home and if anyone is allowed to prostrate to a human, it would be a woman to her husband. They are told they are deficient in intelligence, faith and make the majority in Hell, where they'll hang by hooks and have snakes and scorpions attacking them.

    With such misogyny spoken from the pulpits, it's no wonder that the once relatively bold Maldivian women of a matriarchal society are now the meek prisoners of patriarchal mullahs.

  2. This is an extremely worrying trend, which is taking hold in the Maldives. We do not want Maldives to be another Saudi Arabia where women cannot drive or vote.

    But sad thing is that bit-by-bit, slowly the women of today are being encouraged by their husbands and fathers to stay at home and be subservient to the men.

    The true religions do not make women second-class citizens. Women have every right to fight for their rights. To my beloved sisters and forward looking brothers, if you give room for the extreme ideology to take root in the Maldives, our future generations will suffer irreparable damage.

    The politicians and business community is paying a blind eye for what is really happening in our country where the so called “Islamic Scholars” are taking the country back to dark age. They are using the religion to suppress innocent folks. Wake up! People!

  3. @Homosexual on Sat, 13th Apr 2013 9:49 PM

    "Yesterday’s Friday sermon demonized democracy..."

    This is not surprising, since democracy represents a great threat to the hegemony of the Mullahs whose chief weapon is the use of fear in controlling society.

    Indeed it is shocking to see the number of Maldivian women wearing these ugly black tents. Do they really believe there's a "heaven" with rivers of wine and virgins?

    By the way, when the Mullahs talk about virgins in heaven, they mean female virgins. You see, the women folk are excluded and segregated even in heaven. If anyone believes this total crap, they must be out of their mind.

  4. Are we only realising this now?

    It has been very common in the last 7 years or so for more and more people to have to hide who they are by covering there faces thanks to this religion. My own mother too is being pressured by society now!

    People should be proud of who they are. They should not feel the need to cover up. The exact same same s***ty trend happened in Afghanistan in the 60s. Women were independent before that! Do not let Islam do that here too!

    And in the same vein of thought as women needing to cover up is the thought that women cannot be alone. What would happen if we were? Are you scared that women will figure out that we actually don't need men to constantly watch out and provide for us? Are you afraid we will figure out that we are equal to men? Afraid we will discover the actual world rather than the bubble you keep us in.

    Let us go out. Let us learn. Let us experience the world. Let us become real people.

    Speaking to women here: Parties who support a more Islamic state will always try to oppress us. Because the religion is from a time which oppressed women. It is an outdated religion which can't update.

    Right now we are empowered. We can vote for change. Use that power and keep the islamists away from you. Do not relinquish any rights whatsoever! And Demand equal opportunities to men. We are not getting that right now!

    Can we please stop dragging this country back to dark ages. Lets move forward people!

  5. Speaking of black tents in 30 degrees weather, no wonder I have to hold my breath when I walk near these wahhabis. They smell terrible, and apparently, they don't use evil western products like deodorant and toothpaste. I have seen some use sticks to clean their teeth at mosques.

    Also, women in an Islamic country, working? Haha! When they are constantly told that they are the reason for all of society's ills, no wonder they become no more than sex slaves to their maste...I mean husbands. Many girls aren't going to school anymore, and the education ministry, despite talking about it a lot, have done nothing to stop it from happening. It's beyond me how people think a religion like Islam, which is so misogynistic, can be true. Just think about this for a second. In Saudi Arabia, women aren't allowed to drive. Let it sink in.

    Also, take a look at this list. Majority of countries are Islamic, and the list for best countries for a woman, happen to be secular.

  6. Near By Islands to have flats for the Resort staffs where they can go home to families?

    This is a joke? Does this mean that the people living in Islands near by resorts they are don't have a place to live ?

    Having flats in the near by Islands, then resorts to provide the accommodation to its staffs in those Islands? If this is the case,you think those staffs from far away places will bring their kids and other family members and relocate all the family members. Then this is will be the biggest joke and non of the people will relocate the family just because resort is providing some free housing some remote Island where his or her immediately family is working?

    Since this guy Hamid is from Male' the capital and where is earning rent from his house rented to Island people will never have any clue of what really most of the Maldivian really wants.

    The decline in the participation of Four Season event does not really mean that women participation is declining. The decline of internship is due to increase in higher educational opportunity available in Male' and those colleges are now associated to other resorts to provide internship for thier student.

    Look at the ratio of women and men working in civil service. Women is far much higher than the women.

    Some people will not even hesitate to say anything to just because they hate Islam . Some just say because they supreme leader Fili Nasheed want them, to say.

  7. sorry, women working in civil service is much higher than man working in civil service

  8. Maldivian girls are depriving themselves from god given gift to all female living beings. Don’t cage you in black prison, God gave life to admire and enjoy the beauty of god’s creation. If you cage yourself, you will be emotionally drained and a psychosis condition will imbalance your hormones and this will lead lot of health issues, like cancer, infertility, low libido and psychological problem like hysteria, and schizophrenia. Once you free yourself from psychological torture you get from Mullah, your mind will be clear and you will be able to bring your thought process in to right direction. You will start enjoying life and you will be more creative and beautiful. Your happiness and creativity will boost social and economic condition in the society. When you look beautiful and energetic and if other’s can see your beauty, your men’s moral will lift and they will work hard to make you happy thus revitalizing the whole society.

    When you go against God’s plan you are interfering with nature, hiding women is like hiding flowers, if Mullahs don’t like the beauty of nature you can ask them to veil themselves or remove their eyes.

  9. Look at this guy 'Hakeem's views. He calls the women wearing "ugly".. Were the women born to this Earth to satisfy people like Hakeem's eyes. These people who think they can talk of women's rights are the people who actually violate peace of mind of women and mock them. In the Maldives there are many people who would put some thinking before they would commment. Here on minivan news there is a small group of people who regularly comment. But to me they seem to be very uneducated and unconcerned of people's feelings.

  10. Mohamed , You are right.

    These people main objective is not the rights of women but it is more of political agenda .

    I am yet to see these thugs and propaganda machines to start calling ban on Friday prayers and its summon too.

  11. @Mohamed on Sun, 14th Apr 2013 11:10 AM

    It dumb idiots like you who ruined the religion.

    You take the sentence out of context and try to drill it to confuse everyone. Hakeem never implied women 'ugly', just the penguin dress is ugly. People like you take every verse out of Quran, Torah, Bible and turn it into a weapon to stir up hatred , confusion or to intimidate the meek.

    Stupid arrogant idiot!

  12. Religious extremism is the main cause of women declining in working in resorts. In addition, some resorts do not allow women to wear veils at work. Simple as that.

    As much education and job opportunities resorts provide to the locals, it near impossible to see any women in this industry especially on resorts.

    President Nasheed spoke of religious fanaticism but people thought it was political. It is real and unfortunate that we are heading towards the likes of Pakistan, Mali terrorists, and Afghanistan methodologies.

    We thank you Four Seasons for your efforts and we ask you to be patient as come September, the country would take a turn to modernization which includes immediate crashing of the islamic fanatics, terrorists who enslave our female community. They would be given an ultimatum. Change to modern islam where everyone is equal with rights or take a one way ticket to the mountains of Afganistan where they can smoke harsh, screw goats and continue their unrealistic beliefs.

  13. @Facts.
    Please don't be cynical. Women employment in resorts doesn't have anything to do with radical christianity or anything. The problem is our islands are small and scattered and far away from each other. That's the reason we do not have enough local female or even male staff in the resort. That's where the expats fit in. Just do not go lying around saying religious extremism. the only problem of radicalization we have is that of atheists here. They are the ones who cannot stand islam. We muslims have no problem with ahlu-kithaab (the people of the book)meaning Christians and jews. ITs the atheists and local ones who are the most radical and most dangerous for the unity of the country.

  14. @Mohamed

    Hakeem did not say women were ugly he called the dress they wear ugly black tents. Misquoting people is slander

  15. Hey Mohamed Never mentioned that hakeem had said "women ugly" read between the line.

    Human being, you have made a very valuable comments here.

    Few people in Maldives is trying to ruin this country for thier personal gain .

    People like Adre , have so much hate about Maldives and our people.

    For him all of are idiots dumb and he is only the man who is so intelligent and knows everything.

    But guy seemed to worshipping to a god he himself had created . This show how intelligent and smart the idiot is.


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