Dalli backs Muscat’s proposed MP gender quotas: ‘Proof PM is feminist’

Gvern li Jisma 'public consultation' session dominated by interventions from people in high-ranking public posts

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli and parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana were addressing a Gvern li Jisma session
Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli and parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana were addressing a Gvern li Jisma session

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli has praised Joseph Muscat for his recent proposal to introduce a gender quota system for MPs.

Speaking at a ‘Gvern li Jisma’ listening session at Fort St Elmo, Dalli said that his proposal proves that the Prime Minister is presiding over a feminist administration.

“Whenever the the topic of gender quotas is brought up in Malta, it always stirs a lot of debate. However, Muscat knew that if we don’t take action, then a lot of time will have to pass before we have a Parliament that is truly representative of our society.

“Society is composed of men and women in equal numbers, but when one looks at Parliament, one would imagine as though only 10% of the public are women.”

She also noted that the government recently announced that it will embark on a widespread spring-cleaning of Maltese legislation, so as to remove all clauses in which women are considered to be of a different status than men.

“There are some laws that essentially consider women to be their husband’s property,” she said.

Muscat on Tuesday floated a proposal to introduce a gender quota for MPs, that will increase the amount of female MPs without decreasing the amount of male ones.

He said that the proposal will not change the situation for MPs who get elected through the current system, but that female MPs will be elected over and above that, ostensibly suggesting an even more bloated Parliament.

The ‘Gvern li Jisma’ session was also addressed by parliamentary secretary for active aging and people with disabilities Justyne Caruana, meaning that the government wheeled out two out of its three female Cabinet members on International Women’s Day.

Caruana used the occasion to announce that the government plans to open two new homes for people with disabilities in Naxxar and Kalkara.

Although it was sold as a chance for the general public to pose their questions the Cabinet, the floor was dominated by statements, often of praise, from high-ranking public figures.

Indeed, the first three people to take to the floor were Labour MP Silvio Parnis, Medicines Authority chief Anthony Serracino Inglott, and LGBT+ consultative committee chairperson Gabi Calleja.

They were followed by St Vincent de Paule CEO Josianne Cutajar, Equality Commissioner Renee Laiviera, and Occupational Health and Safety Authority CEO Mark Gauci, Disability Commissioner Oliver Scicluna, and MCESD head John Bencini, Indeed, the only people not in a high-ranking public post to take the mic was Alistair Degaetano, who spoke of his research on Malta’s autism legislation and an elderly woman – a frequent attendeee of Gvern li Jisma – who went on a rant about trans people.

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