The European Commission released their annual study on gender equality in April. The statistics show that Malta has the fewest women in leading positions. Malta scores last in Europe with only a score of 2% of female company board members of publicly listed companies. Member of the European Parliament Viviane Reding stated that it would take at least another 30 years before the EU reaches their target of having 75% of women employed, and another 70 years until male and female workers are paid equal wages. However, the parliamentary environment is quicker, it should only take 20 years to reach equality between men and women.
Malta’s economy is already trying to catch up. The Bank of Valletta and Malta International Airport have a quota of 43% female workers. However, the fact that is often being withheld is that in order to achieve these rapid changes, a recruitment freeze for men is being put in place. This situation should be avoided, as it would impair a sustainable development.
Personally, I think too much noise is being made about this issue. If I look at 20-year-old women nowadays, they are often very successful. Be it in school, at university, or employment. Gender equality has been an issue for the last ten years, and it needs to be given time to develop. Of course, it needs to be ensured that women are treated equal when they achieve the same results, and that they have the same opportunities as men, but this will not be achievable with just strict quotas.
Rather, it is important to create jobs that make family life and work agreeable. Maltese women are still very traditional and domestic, and for this reason they should not be given the choice of either work or family. It is important to create conditions in which both is possible. For example, child care near or at the workplace, part-time employment for parents or flexible work hours — the list of possibilities is long.
I am curious to see how the situation will have changed in 30 years. However, I am sure that a change is coming.
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