[WATCH] Gender corrective mechanism will remove obstacles faced by women in their political journey – Bernard Grech

Nationalist leader says hurdles faced by women on their journey to parliament must be addressed through political action  

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech and his wife Anne Marie Grech
Nationalist leader Bernard Grech and his wife Anne Marie Grech

Women are capable of succeeding in politics on their own, but the gender corrective mechanism will help to make up for the disadvantages they face, Opposition leader Bernard Grech has said.  

The Nationalist leader was speaking on women’s day special edition programme ‘Indaqs’ (Equal) on party broadcaster NET TV.  

“Women have succeeded in other sectors – law, medicine, judiciary, business. But why did they not do make it to parliament? So let us remove the obstacles they are facing,” Grech said.  

Nationalist MP Claudette Butigieg compared the debate surrounding the mechanism to the divorce one.  

“If you feel you shouldn’t be elected through a mechanism, do not use it. But it is easy to say that I was able to get elected, so let us leave at that. The reality is women are not succeeding as much as men,” she said.  

The MP said the mechanism will not elect women who have not worked hard for their votes.  

“The target we should strive for is that no one depends on the mechanism, but it should serve to ensure that we have more equal representation,” she said. “Have we solved the problem? Of course not, but it will serve to kickstart a fairer system.” 

Prostitution reform 

On the prostitution reform, MEP Roberta Metsola said government’s proposed model serves to regulate abuse.  

“It is shameful to make a business or economic activity from prostitution,” she said.  

The proposed model removes the sex worker’s dignity, and will lead to more human trafficking, she said.  

PN political research president Martina Caruana insisted a lot of women are forced into prostitution.  

“When we speak about making prostitution legal, we are speaking about legitimising it. It shouldn’t be considered as such,” she said.  

The Nationalist leader said the party believes women are not objects, and so can never agree with making sex work legal.  

“We want to empower women. We need to legislate in a manner that pushes people away from purchasing sex,” Grech said.  

COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on women  

The debate also looked at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the country.  

The PN leader said that the pandemic has been harder on women, who have had to juggle between added challenges at their place of work, and their family duties.  

“This is a reality we are unfortunately facing in our country. We need to see more men have an active role in the household,” he said.  

Grech also mentioned irregularities in government’s vaccine roll out, stating he was shown a letter received by the family of deceased person.  

“We than have 60- and 70-year-olds who are yet to receive the letter, while 30-year-old people who are not considered vulnerable, have already received the jab,” he said.