Women MPs have a big role to play in ensuring equality in the house, Justyne Caruana says

Education Minister Justyne Caruana says bill must be part of wider reform in attitude towards women politicians 

Women have an important role to play in ensuring true equality is practised in the House of Representatives, Education Minister Justyne Caruana has said. 

Caruana was speaking during a parliamentary debate on the proposed gender equality mechanism to help women get elected in the House.

She said that the bill must be part of a wider reform, insisting everyone has to contribute to the cultural shift. 

“We cannot see men as being passionate, and women as being hysterical,” she said. 

Putting it bluntly, Caruana said sometimes it is “women’s fault” for allowing larger male representation. 

“I know a lot of cases were good women, who have the skills to make it in politics, step back because of the conditions they might find,” she said. 

The education minister said that this means the effort must not stop with the bill, calling for better conditions to make it easier for women to be successful in politics.

Caruana went on to draw comparisons between how men and women are treated differently. 

“Myself and Giovanna Debono resigned for what our partners did, and rightly so. But would the same thing had happened if the partner of a male politician had been found of wrongdoings?” she said. 

Mechanism a tool for big parties – Godfrey Farrugia 

Independent MP Godfrey Farrugia called the mechanism another tool for the big parties to have a stronger hold over the country’s political system. 

“The lack of women in the house is a symptom, not the problem,” he said. 

The problem, according to Farrugia, is the country’s political system. 

“No government wants to tackle the problem, because they are content with taking turns running the country,” he said. 

The independent MP also blamed former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of using the issue of taking media attention over allegations against him and the party. 

“When I had spoken against the mechanism as Labour whip in 2016, three months later, out of the blue, Muscat suddenly started speaking about it,” he said. 

He accused the big parties of creating a system to elect more of their own representatives. 

“The bill completely forgets about third-parties,” he said. 

He said the country’s attitude does not need to change, only the mentality inside the house. 

“The MEP elections are a perfect example of how the electorate reacts to female candidates,” he said. 

He also claimed women MPs have their reservations over the bill, but are unwilling to express their disagreement. 

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