EU institute flags lack of in-depth studies on women employment in Malta

EIGE: A more gender equal society leads to positive GDP growth, higher level of employment and productivity and is better able to respond to challenges arising from an ageing population

miriam
Miriam Dalli
20 July 2017, 1:00pm
Malta can register a reduction of 5% in the gender gap in activity rates by 2030, from 36% in 2014 to 31%
Malta can register a reduction of 5% in the gender gap in activity rates by 2030, from 36% in 2014 to 31%
The European Institute for Gender Equality has urged Malta to conduct in-depth studies on the scale of the costs associated with women’s employment and how the increase of women at work affects the country’s GDP and pension sustainability.

In its report on the economic benefits of gender equality in the EU, the EIGE reconfirms that Malta is characterised by one of the lower women’s employment rates in Europe: whereas the average employment rate of women (aged 20 to 64) in the EU was 64.3 % in 2015, for Malta it was 53.6 %.

In a bid to boost female employment, the government launched free the provision of free childcare centres in 2014 to support working parents.

“However, the use of econometric techniques to model the scale of the costs associated with women’s employment is extremely limited; furthermore, there are no cost–benefit analyses or quantitative impact assessments of the new childcare policy. These are areas that could likely benefit from greater attention in the future,” the EIGE recommends.

In its analysis of Malta, the EIGE report focuses heavily on the lack of studies that use advanced statistical methods to assess the economic impacts and benefits of gender equality at national level – such a study would provide a deeper picture on the situation on the island.

The EIGE in fact notes that the economic benefits of gender equality “are a little-explored topic” in Malta. In the cases that focus on such benefits, the EIGE found that they are discussed in general terms without being quantifies.

The report refers to a number of studies carried out by the Commission on Domestic Violence, academics and a 2007 report compiled by the Employment and Training Corporation.

“There is no identified econometric research that precisely quantifies the impacts of gender equality on macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, productivity, employment, consumption, innovation or others,” the EIGE stated.

It went on to quote a 2012 NCPE study that argues that Malta is paying a high economic cost due to the low employment of women – the employment rate stood at 53.6% in 2015 according to Eurostat. Low female unemployment means government’s revenue decreases, pension sustainability is undermined and economic growth is held back.

Across the EU, the EIGE’s report demonstrates that improvements to gender equality would generate up to 10.5 million additional jobs by 2050, with the employment rate reaching almost 80%.

If more women join the labour force and/or get education in fields with skill shortages that have good future employment prospects, e.g. in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, they are likely to find employment and make substantial contributions to the economy.

As pointed out by the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE), it is estimated that Malta can register a reduction of 5% in the gender gap in activity rates by 2030, from 36% in 2014 to 31%.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...