Safaath Ahmed Zahir is a 25-year-old from the Republic of Maldives. She is a leading women’s rights activist dedicated to elevating the role of women in her country. Through her civil society activism, she has pioneered efforts to raise the profile of women’s economic empowerment in the Maldives.

“I come from a household of all women, but a society where men are in charge,” a reality that lit a fire in Safaath from a young age. After completing her studies abroad, the 25-year-old “democracy-driven, proud feminist” returned to the Maldives to lead Women on Boards, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender diversity in the workplace and inspiring Maldivian women to accelerate to the next level, no matter their position or economic standing. Through capacity development workshops, scholarship programs and advocacy campaigns, Women on Boards has pioneered efforts to raise the profile of women’s economic empowerment in the Maldives. Building on this success, Safaath is establishing the NGO Women and Democracy, drawing lessons from Women on Boards to increase female representation in policy and decision-making. Safaath believes that equitable participation of women in politics and government is essential to building and sustaining democracy. Her version of success: “More women in parliament, more women in policy-making, more women as Ministers, and more women Presidents.”