Marlene Farrugia against MP gender quotas: ‘Women are not tuna’

Marlene Farrugia: Gender quotas for female MPs positive discrimination and will deal a blow to women's credibility 

Partit Demokratiku leader and independent MP Marlene Farrugia has come out against Joseph Muscat’s call for a quota system to boost the number of females MPs.

In a Facebook post, Farrugia – one of only nine Maltese female MPs - warned that gender quotas amount to positive discrimination and will deal a blow to the credibility that women have earned over the years.  

“They want to get us elected through quotas, as though we were tuna,” Farrugia said in a Facebook post. “If the obstacles and prejudices are removed and if Parliament start to be held during more family-friendly hours, then more women will contest and get elected.

“30 years ago, Malta only had two female dentists, including myself. Now there are several of them, and it was no thanks to a quota system. The same can be said for doctors, lawyers, etc…”

Muscat earlier this week 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.

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli on Wednesday threw her weight behind Muscat’s proposal.

“Whenever the the topic of gender quotas is brought up in Malta, it always stirs a lot of debate,” she said. “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.”

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