Nine recommendations rolled out to elect more women to local councils

Government rolls out nine inclusive measures to increase women's participation in local council elections, holding off from introducing another quota

The proposals were announced during a press conference on Tuesday
The proposals were announced during a press conference on Tuesday

Government has announced a set of measures aimed at increasing women’s participation in local council elections.

The measures were announced less than two months before the country is set to choose its local representatives. Commissioner for the National Promotion of Equality, Renee Laiviera outlined nine recommendations proposed by the Taskforce on the Balance in Gender in Local Councils, which she heads.

The first proposal concerns political commitment by government institutions, political parties, NGOs and the media, complimented by an informative campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of gender balance in politics.

Another proposal calls for the prioritisation of the under-represented sex when political parties are in a position to co-opt individuals, with the ultimate goal of this proposal being to reach 40% representation of both sexes on each local council.

The taskforce outlined the need to revamp local councils in order to make them more inclusive institutions. Among other measures chosen to achieve this, the proposals call for a change in time and format of local council meetings, while ensuring that structures are present to deal with abuse of local councillors, including sexual abuse.

Another proposal is aimed at ensuring that political parties commit to actively recruit female candidates and integrate them within the parties. 

During the press conference, parliamentary secretary for reforms Rebecca Buttigieg was asked what percentage of local council candidates are women, but she refrained from answering given that the call for candidates is still open.

Another proposal concerning political parties involved the development of a “gender-responsive” environment within their structures.

One proposal called for the removal of the €90 registration fee when candidates contest local council elections, as it was explained that the fee would be waived for both male and female candidates so that they could benefit from more resources.

Parliamentary secretary for reforms has faith in the electorate

Following the press conference, Buttigieg was asked whether she has faith that the proposals in question would truly increase female representation in politics, given the fact that despite the gender corrective mechanism, the last general election saw less female candidates directly elected.

“I have faith in the electorate,” Buttigieg responded, noting a greater number of female candidates would be translated to a greater number of female representatives in politics. She added that if all parties involved are truly committed to promoting equality, the goal can be reached, as she appealed to voters to vote for female candidates in the upcoming elections.

When confronted by the fact that the gender mechanism in the general election discriminates against candidates who don’t come from the two big parties, Buttigieg said that the gender mechanism can’t be compared to these proposals.