[WATCH] Half of Labour Party election candidates to be female by 2027

Through its latest initiative the Labour Party will be offering prospective female candidates the necessary support structures, including family-friendly measures and mentoring, to succeed in politics

By 2027, 50% of Labour Party candidates will be female. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
By 2027, 50% of Labour Party candidates will be female. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Half of Labour Party election candidates to be female by 2027

The Labour Party this evening launched an initiative through which it intends to increase female representation among its election candidates to 50% by 2027

Speaking at the party’s extraordinary general conference, MEP Miriam Dalli said that the first phase of the initiative, which is called Lead, will start in two-years’ time when the Labour Party will aim to have women making up 40% of its candidates in the elections for members of the European Parliament, and 35% of its local council candidates.

By the time the 2022 comes along, said Dalli, the Labour Party would be in a position to have 35% female representation among its general election candidates. The number will increase to 50% before the 2024 MEP election and 40% in local council elections.

For this to be possible, the Labour Party would be opening its doors to anyone who wanted to contribute, and would be welcoming female candidates as early as next September, said Dalli, adding that applications would be opened to anyone, irrespective of their past experience in politics.

Dalli explained that through the initiative, chosen candidates would be given the necessary exposure by the party, a mentoring and development program, as well as the necessary childcare and family-friendly structure to allow them to succeed.

The aim, she said, would be to recruit a minimum of 12 women every year for the next four years.

In addition to mentoring and development programs, which she said would equip candidates with the necessary knowledge in the various aspects of politics and policy, they would also be required to put in the necessary work on the ground.

Dalli said that she had been previously uncertain about the idea of female quotas because she feared that “it would cause people to think that a woman holding any sort of position was not truly capable”.

She added however that the election result, which had left parliament with less women than the lasat legislature showed that action needed to be taken.

“I used to think change would happen on its own but in reality, we must be ones to push it forward,” she said.

Describing her own personal experience, Dalli said that she had never felt discriminated against, but with time, had understood that she was trying to succeed in a system that asked more of her than it did men. She added that men did not realise this and in some cases, nor did women.

Speaking ahead of Dalli, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said it was unacceptable for half the population not to be represented in parliament.

Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday

“Imagine if there wasn’t even one MP from the whole of the South of Malta,” he said.

The Prime Minister insisted that as the father of two daughters he was not willing to accept a system where women had more obstacles to success than men did.

He said that the quotas being introduced by the party were only a temporary measure, and would be abandoned once the situation improved.

Muscat explained that in addition to reforms in the Labour Party, Government would also be seeking to implement reforms, in collaboration with the Opposition, that would make parliament more family-friendly.

A part of the reform would be changing the time parliament meets, as the current “ridiculous time” only suited lawyers.

“What mother and father is willing to stay in parliament from 6.00pm to 9.30pm while their children are at home. What if you don’t have parents to help them?” he added.

Understand people’s aspirations or become irrelevant

Turning to parliament approving the marriage equality bill last night, Muscat said that the historic vote would be leaving an positive impact on the lives of countless individuals.

“There will surely be people who are today against the bill and whose children are probably not yet born and who haven’t yet told them they are gay,” said Muscat, adding that even these people would eventually understand that the government was on the right side of history.

He said that what the government had done was anticipate what was an inevitable change. He said that in 1973, when homosexuality was decriminalised, as well as in 1975, when civil marriage was introduced, there were similar objections by some sections of the public.

“What happened yesterday was not only about the LGBTIQ community,” said Muscat. “The message I have for the political class is that if we do not understand that society is evolving and changing, and taking on a life of its own, and which goes beyond politics; and if politicians aren’t able to understand and anticipate these changes, political parties will become irrelevant.”

He underscored his belief that political parties were doomed to fail if they ceased to reflect the aspirations of people in society. 

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