[WATCH] 'Culture of hostility towards women still pervasive' – President

In an interview published in today’s edition of MaltaToday, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca lamented that Malta still lags behind in terms of making women feel safe in their homes and welcome as equal players in society.

President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (Photo: Ray Attard)
President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca (Photo: Ray Attard)
MaltaToday interviews President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca • Video by Ray Attard

Commenting on both the worrying pervasiveness of domestic violence towards women, as well as an as-yet unequal playing field in the professional sphere, Coleiro Preca said that, “regrettably, I have to say that we have not reached true and effective equality,” claiming that despite advances in other areas, our contemporary society still engages in the unfortunate business of promoting gender stereotypes that hurt women – both personally and professionally.

“A woman is still judged by her looks, rather than by her contribution to society, or the business she manages.  Even today, most women are compelled to care for the wellbeing of others before they seek their own.”

Describing any progress for women in policymaking and management as being “too slow”, Coleiro Preca observed that “any woman who broke the glass ceiling has done so with great personal sacrifices beyond what is reasonably acceptable or indeed possible,” blaming a still largely “patriarchal” society for leading women to “waste so much energy” proving themselves before they could actively contribute to society.

Turning to domestic violence towards women in particular, Coleiro Preca said that a “culture of hostility towards women” is still very much pervasive on the island, describing the issue as an “ever-growing scourge” that appears to be cyclically perpetuating itself.

“I believe that a bully at school is a bully in the home, and also at the place of work. It is a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. In other words, violence is generally learnt first-hand: from one’s family, neighbourhood and other social contexts, real and virtual. Some perpetrators of violence could have been victims of violence themselves. When children experience violence, at times on a daily basis, they grow up thinking that violence is a reasonable way to end conflicts, and to subdue the other. Moreover, alcohol and other chemical substances fuel violent behaviour,” Coleiro Preca said.

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