Domestic violence commissioner hits out at Musumeci comment on gender quotas

Robert Musumeci forced to backtrack over comment interpreted as belittling women

The Commission on Gender-based Violence has demanded Robert Musumeci apologise to women, over a comment on gender quotas that the Labour government consultant made on Facebook.

Min qed jghid li n-nisa se jibdew jigu co opted kif irid Robert Abela ma fehemx x'hemm miktub. Li jista' jaghmel Robert...

Posted by Robert Musumeci on Friday, 15 January 2021

Commissioner Audrey Friggieri expressed disappointment at his social media comment about identifying “likeable, unpretentious and popular” female participants in politics, calling it an example of the “violence of patriarchal and colonial discourse that infiltrates people’s attitudes towards women and their capabilities.”

Musumeci made the comment in the context of an online debate on gender quotas in parliament. The resulting backlash led to a string of backtracking and explanatory posts by Musumeci.

In a Facebook post, the Commission uploaded a screenshot of the wildly controversial Musumeci comment, with the caption “Misogyny raises its head once again! A privileged man who obviously assumes that he himself is ‘likeable and unpretentious’ describes the qualities that a woman should have so as to be politically valid, according to him.”

Essential qualities for political life were “far more substantial than these frivolities he is mentioning,” the Commission went on, pointing out that there were many women who were “supremely capable, intelligent, responsible, possessing integrity and the all gifts necessary, apart from being ‘likeable.’”

Describing Musumeci’s words as oppressive, the Commission said they did not deserve to be said, much less be tolerated. “Us women deserve an apology from you, Mr. Musumeci. This, too is violence.”

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