[WATCH] Corrective mechanism Bill to increase women MPs to be tabled next week

Equality is a fundamental right and should be supported by all of society, Equality Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar says as government marks International Women’s Day

Rosianne Cutajar, Edward Zammit Lewis and Lydia Abela marked International Women's Day in presence of women holding posts in various institutions
Rosianne Cutajar, Edward Zammit Lewis and Lydia Abela marked International Women's Day in presence of women holding posts in various institutions

A Bill proposing a gender corrective mechanism to increase the number of women MPs will be tabled in Parliament next week, Edward Zammit Lewis said.

The proposed legislation will require changes to the Constitution and electoral law but the Opposition is supporting the initiative.

The Justice Minister said the gender corrective mechanism will be applied in the next general election and will ensure that the under-represented sex will have at least 40% of parliamentary seats.

The decision to move quickly on the Bill was announced as government marked International Women’s Day in Valletta.

Equality Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar said it was important to have more women enter politics and be elected to Parliament.

Marking International Women's Day
Marking International Women's Day

The government may have introduced many policies to support women but “there is still a long way to go” to achieve equality, she added.

“The reality is that this year we will have more women graduating from the law course than men, a far cry from what the situation was like only a few years ago. We have to continue to create mechanisms, which help these women, and empower them to make sure that one day we do not need these mechanisms in place,” Cutajar said.

The Equality Parliamentary Secretary said more had to be done by the authorities and society in this regard. 

Cutajar said she was not interested in equality because she was a woman, not even because she was a politician, but because it was a fundamental right. 

“The government has put into motion many policies to encourage and facilitate women, but there is still a long way to go, as a government and as a society. Today, I am surrounded by women I admire, who have contributed so much to society. That is quite often a problem at events because people ask us where are the women? I want this to continue, I want to continue to work with, and for women to create a better future for the next generation,” she said.

The event was held at the Triton Fountain and women occupying roles in various institutions were present.

Lydia Abela, the Prime Minister’s wife, said that while the government was introducing policies this was not enough.

“This needs to be paired with a stronger education system and a shift in societal mentalities. It is shameful that Malta has one of the largest gender pay gaps in all of Europe and more needs to be done to combat this,” Abela said.

With reference to the murder of Chantelle Chetcuti, a 35-year-old mother of two, she said that resources needed to be poured into creating mechanisms to make sure that vulnerable women are supported and given the tools to pull themselves out of abusive situations.

Zammit Lewis, echoed these sentiments. He said the government was sending a clear message that societal mentality towards abuse had to change.

“We have zero tolerance towards domestic violence, we will not tolerate those who agree with it or those who make excuses for violence against women in any manner. We need to work to change their mentality for the better,” Zammit Lewis said.

He added that it was also important for men to continue to support women and speak out against injustices.

More in National