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Women’s confederation surprised at Malta’s opposition to gender quotas

MCWO says claims of that gender quotas are ‘quick-fix’ solutions are only used in business world.

Matthew Vella
11 September 2012, 12:00am
EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding is sponsoring the gender law.
The Malta Confederation of Women's Organisations (MCWO) has joined the chorus of outrage at a decision by the Maltese government to form part of a British diplomatic push that will protest a proposed law by the European Commission, to have 40% of all publicly-listed companies' board of directors composed of women by 2020.

"We are indeed very surprised that Malta is supporting a United Kingdom diplomatic move to stop the proposal altogether," Renee Laiviera, the chair of the MCWO, said.

 "There is general consensus that women are hardworking, efficient and effective at the place of work. What is bewildering is why these same women cannot be trusted to use these skills to find a work-life balance and reach the highest echelons in the boardroom. Apparently only men with families can do this," Laiviera said.

The MCWO chairperson said quotas were already in use within political party structures, contrasting claims by Justice Minister Chris Said that the quotas being proposed by the European Commission were only "quick-fix" solutions.

"Why should [Said's claim] hold water in the business sector when a growing number of studies show a link between more women in senior positions and companies' financial performance," Laiviera said, citing the EU's justice commissioner Viviane Reding's - who is sponsoring the law - warning that without the quotas it will take 50 more years to have a reasonable gender balance on company boards.

"How many years must Malta continue to invest hugely in its human resources while refraining from taking effective action to make the best return to strengthen its economy and increase public wealth?"

Malta's publicly-listed companies on the stock exchange are the EU's worst performers in gender balance, with just three women out of hundred company directors, when 60% of the island's university graduates are women.

The MCWO has recommended that Malta supports Reding's proposal, in its budget proposals.

"Malta's record in investment with regard to women's education compares well with other EU member states. Not so in practically all the other areas:  the only country with no female MEP is Malta; the lowest participation of women at parliamentary level is Malta (9%); women mayors make up 9%; women local councillors have never gone above 23%; and it's the member state with the lowest participation rate of women in the labour market is Malta (40%)," Laiviera said.

The National Council of Women has dubbed as "shocking" news that the Maltese government will join a diplomatic push spearheaded by the United Kingdom, to oppose a law that will introduce mandatory quotas for women on public companies and private companies on the stock exchange.

Justice minister Chris Said told MaltaToday the Maltese government believes the EU should stay out of such legislation and instead allow national governments to pursue their own equality measures.

"The Government's decision to oppose the boardroom gender quotas comes as shocking news to the National Council of Women," NCW executive member Roselyn Borg said. "We urge the government to rethink its position and support the quota system. Gender balance is long overdue and opposing it is surely unacceptable."

The currently dismal representation of just 3% of women on company boards will mean a radical shake-up of Malta's largest companies' decision-making boards, affecting companies like Bank of Valletta, as well as other plcs like HSBC Malta, GO plc, International Hotel Investments, Fimbank, Lombard Bank, Farsons, Middlesea Insurance, Island Groups, and even Maltapost.

 

 

Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...

albert leone
I totally disagree with quotas or positive discrimination as an insult to those women who have achieved a high position through their own merits and hard work. Sixty percent of students at the University are now women and as they graduate and gain experience we are likely to see in a few years time a majority of women in senior positions be it as judges, senior civil servants, the medical profession and no doubt in politics and all other professions. If one starts discriminating what not ensure for example a quota for pensioners who are even more under-represented in society than women We all remember the discrimination of the points system for University entrance and the way it discriminated against those who could not find a sponsor. Did it in any way solve the problem of under representation within certain classes. Did the presence of a worker director in any way change the board room power structure. Indeed probably it worked against workers in general. So let us stop entertaining ideas other than promoting meritocracy whatever ones gender, political ideology, religious belief, ethnicity, class, age or any other form of distinguishing classification.
GYK
The PN leadership is sill stuck in the antiquated 3 K's slogan of 'Kinder, Küche, Kirche' translated as “children, kitchen, church”. Time is passing them by.
Carmen_Sammut
Justice minister Chris Said stated: "The Maltese government believes the EU should stay out of gender quotas legislation and instead allow national governments to pursue their own equality measures. Can't the Minister see that if we were to leave it up to the national government, any change that MIGHT happen will be snail-paced. In an age when 60% of Maltese graduates are women, politicians can no longer claim that women do not have the credentials to move to the top, especially when old seniority systems have almost become obsolete. For decades we have seen government dragging its feet to appoint women. Fresh in our memory is the instances when Malta had to suffer humilitation because the European Court refused Maltese nominees as our national government did not name a single woman? The dearth of women at the helm can no longer be justified and the gender imbalance needs to be corrected. Commissioner Viviane Reding herself has shown that women at the top can do a lot to improve opportunities for other women. To say the least her initiative will hopefully shake Maltese state institutions out of their complacency.
Joseph Micallef
I ask how can you impose a woman or a man for that matter to sit on a board of directors or any position of responsibility because of gender. These things should only be decided on capability and it has nothing to do with Labour or the PN. It would be an insult and it would diminish my esteem if i was given a position of responsibility because of my gender and not because of my capabilities. If this law passes every woman in such position will be looked at as inferior and is there because she is a woman even though she could be better then all her male colleagues summed up together.
Joseph Micallef
I ask how can you impose a woman or a man for that matter to sit on a board of directors or any position of responsibility because of gender. These things should only be decided on capability and it has nothing to do with Labour or the PN. It would be an insult and it would diminish my esteem if i was given a position of responsibility because of my gender and not because of my capabilities. If this law passes every woman in such position will be looked at as inferior and is there because she is a woman even though she could be better then all her male colleagues summed up together.
Joseph Micallef
I ask how can you impose a woman or a man for that matter to sit on a board of directors or any position of responsibility because of gender. These things should only be decided on capability and it has nothing to do with Labour or the PN. It would be an insult and it would diminish my esteem if i was given a position of responsibility because of my gender and not because of my capabilities. If this law passes every woman in such position will be looked at as inferior and is there because she is a woman even though she could be better then all her male colleagues summed up together.
John Inguanez
Imma din tal-kwota x'inhija? Allura jekk ma jkunx hemm nisa adattati xorta jridu jsiru diretturi? Jien naqbel ma nisa diretturi, zgur li ghandhom hafna x'joffru imma fuq il-merti taghhom u mhux il-kwota. Nahseb li trid tinbidel il-mentalita tal-azzjonisti. Tajjeb mela issa jien azzjonist f'kumpannija u jkoll intella 40% tad-diretturi nisa anke jekk fost dawk li jkunu nominati ma jkunx hemm min huwa adattat!! Ha jkun hemm min huwa addatat, anke jekk ikunu kollha nisa. Dan gara fil-politika, mela raġel gab voti aktar minn mara u telghet wahda li gabet voti inqas.
Joseph Micallef
I ask how can you impose a woman or a man for that matter to sit on a board of directors or any position of responsibility because of gender. These things should only be decided on capability and it has nothing to do with Labour or the PN. It would be an insult and it would diminish my esteem if i was given a position of responsibility because of my gender and not because of my capabilities. If this law passes every woman in such position will be looked at as inferior and is there because she is a woman even though she could be better then all her male colleagues summed up together.
Joseph Micallef
I ask how can you impose a woman or a man for that matter to sit on a board of directors or any position of responsibility because of gender. These things should only be decided on capability and it has nothing to do with Labour or the PN. It would be an insult and it would diminish my esteem if i was given a position of responsibility because of my gender and not because of my capabilities. If this law passes every woman in such position will be looked at as inferior and is there because she is a woman even though she could be better then all her male colleagues summed up together.
guido cutajar
Mhux ovvja li jiehduha b`sorpriza u ma jaqblux mad decizzjoni li ha il Gvern Malti....Jekk hadd ma jghejdilhom l-istorja politika ta Malta.Ghax li kieku kienu jafu li il Partit Nazzjonalista ried lil mara tibqa fil kcina zgur li ma kienux jiehdu sorpriza, ghanke riedu li il mara toghqod id-dar tlesti is sodda ghal meta jigi ir ragel.U l-akbar sorpriza li ma jafux hija li l-anqas il vot ma riedu ituhom...Kienu il gvern tal labour b`Mintoff P.M. li il mara hadet id dinjieta,harget tahdem bil paga daqs ta ragel jekk taghmel l-istess xoghol.Il P.N. dejjem stiema lil mara bhala oggett.