Graffitti on quotas: party lists should be gender equal

Moviment Graffitti says the gender corrective mechanism to enhance the number of women MPs will only serve to strengthen the main political parties’ voice in parliament as it proposes quotas for party candidate lists instead

Moviment Graffitti has called for gender quotas on party candidate lists instead of a proposed mechanism that will reserve a number of parliamentary seats for the under-represented sex.

Earlier this month parliament approved the Second Reading of the proposed legal changes that intend to increase the representation of the under-represented gender in the House by a maximum of 12 seats.

Equality Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar said the country’s leaders cannot allow any more time to pass until more women make it to parliament.

According to Graffitti, the gender corrective mechanism will only serve to enhance the voice of the two main political parties, while “enforcing” the status quo.

They said any introduced measures need to be coupled with national studies into why women are not making it into parliament.

“These studies would also inform important discussions on why women are still underrepresented. Any measure should also address rampant sexism and gender stereotypes, the limitations of gender stereotypes, and the lack of work-life balance that stops women from becoming MPs,” it said.

The NGO also said the current mechanism fails to challenge the class system in the country’s political landscape.

“Serious electoral reform includes a parliament where MPs work full-time. Parliamentary sittings should also be held in the morning. Increasing both maternity and paternity leave should also help those juggling work and family life,” Graffitti said.

Quotas on candidate lists, the NGO said, would put the onus on parties to address the alarmingly low percentage of female representatives in parliament without leading to an increase in seats or concentrating power further within the two parties.

“Moviment Graffitti believes that gender quotas on candidate lists will allow for a more democratic and meritocratic process than the one currently being debated in parliament,” the group said.  

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