The sooner Malta achieves equality, the better off everyone will be.

08/03/2020

From letters to cheques, from pay to representation, the shortcomings on the Gender Equality front are very visible. It’s International Women’s Day, and the theme of the year is ‘I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’. Malta has a long way to go to achieve true gender equality. Meanwhile, Volt has proposals that have been proven to work and ought to be implemented right away.

In some areas, it’s very visible, such as political representation in Malta which is very dominantly male at the national and local level, and the every-day occurrences which might be shrugged off; such as when a letter concerning a household coming from the state, or from school, or bills etc, address the man of the heterosexual couple and doesn’t mention the woman, even though they are equal partners. Many if not all the €35 cheques received by a household that involves a married heterosexual couple are redeemable by only 1 person, and that is the man. This is neither correct nor fair. Mail addressing the household should be addressed to both equal partners.

Malta has improved on the front of gender equality, albeit slower than most of its European siblings. However, Volt, the up-and-coming European Party, has solutions for a lot of the current problems Malta faces on this front.

While Malta can boast about achieving and maintaining gender equality in the European Parliament, it falls short elsewhere with women representing less than 15% at the national level and 22% at the local level. (European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Volt proposes requiring by law that half of the electoral lists parties present must include women, additionally creating programmes to encourage women to get into politics. Quotas must also not be overlooked, given that they’ve been proven to accelerate parity.

Meanwhile, in the private sector, the employment of women is still below that of men, however, it is still gradually increasing year on year. Despite improvements, salaries of women are still 12% lower on average (European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), and the pension gap is even wider at 42% (Eurostat 2019). While there are a number of factors at play causing the gap, there are solutions to narrow it. Volt proposes requiring mid-large companies to disclose the company’s gender balance and pay gap. This would also be required of state-owned companies. Additionally, a temporary 40% quota would be placed on boards of all publicly traded enterprises to be achieved within 5 years, and state-owned companies should lead by example by having 50% female representation at the board level.

There is also the issue of parental leave. Volt believes that each parent should have an equal amount of parental leave, along with a quantity that is to be shared by the partners. This takes away the risk of companies discriminating based on the length of parental leave one may take if a family decides to have a child, and encourages both parents to spend more time with their children.

Let's bring forth the change we'd like to see in the world, today, and lead by example.