Situation for women has worsened under 'most feminist' government, Adrian Delia says

Opposition leader Adrian Delia said that, despite the government claiming to be the ‘most feminist’ ever, various reports showed that the gender gap in Malta had grown significantly

Opposition leader Adrian Delia addressing party followers at an event at the PN headquarters on Sunday
Opposition leader Adrian Delia addressing party followers at an event at the PN headquarters on Sunday

The gender wage gap in Malta and the lack of female participation in public affairs has significantly worsened in recent years, despite the government billing itself as the most feminist the country has ever had, Adrian Delia said.

The Opposition leader, who was addressing party followers at a political event at the PN headquarters in Pieta on Sunday, said that various reports had indicated that Malta was falling a number of places in matters of gender equality, and that single women were amongst the most susceptible to problems related to poverty.

He said that, currently men earn 16% more than women for doing the same work, but that in 2011, the difference was of 7.7%. “This has gone up to more than double, meaning that every year, women are working two months for which they are paid nothing,” he underlined.

Delia quoted from an International Monetary Fund report, which he said found that while the share of the population at risk of poverty is relatively stable and below the European average, it is high and on in the rise for subgroups of the population, with female single earners being amongst the most affected.

He also referred to a European Commission’s report which indicated that Malta was amongst the bottom third in the world when it comes to the gender gap.

Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, which analyses the employment, health, salaries and participation in public life situations in 149 countries, it emerged that Malta “fell spectacularly “in this index, he said.

“When it comes to women’s salaries, Malta fell 19 places, from 87th place to 106 out of 149 countries,” he highlighted, “In terms of gender-equality in salaries, Malta also fell 19 places, from 29th to 48th. In women’s health, we went from 65th to 114th.”

He remarked that Health Minister Chris Fearne had tried to explain this away by claiming that the lack of abortion in Malta was behind the drop in the health ranking. “The government doesn’t even recognise the problem nor does it have the will to address it.”

He went on to point out that rankings for female public and parliamentary participation and for women in authority have also dropped.

“And all this is happening during ‘the best of times’, with the government unashamedly persisting in maintaining that it is the most feminist government the country has ever had.”

“The Nationalist Party’s message is clear: we are the party which believes in Maltese women, we changed the laws to allow female participation in politics, we introduced measures to provide for decent salaries for women… and we believe that we need women in politics because our society truly needs female participation in the public sphere.”

Turning to the matter of social housing, Delia said that last October he had raised attention to the fact that 3,200 families were in urgent need of housing, and that the Prime Minister had “calmly” proclaimed that the number of such families had not risen, so there was no need to be surprised about the matter.

 

“3,200 families for our Prime Minister is nothing,” he said, “But a few weeks ago - after the PN guaranteed that it would provide a place to live for everyone - the Prime Minister gave an opposite guarantee, saying that people should not be arrogant and expect that they be given housing.”

“This is in sharp contrast to the message of the PN. We believe in a society which cares, and we want to help those who are capable of moving forward, but are also obliged to take care of those who cannot do so themselves.”

Egrant report case continues tomorrow

Delia said that tomorrow he is due to appear in court for the next sitting in the case which he had instituted against the Attorney General, where he was alleging that, in refusing to make available to the Opposition leader a copy of the full report on the Egrant inquiry, the AG was violating Constitutional law and creating a political imbalance.

“The Opposition had requested a full copy of the Egrant report, and although the Prime Minister said he would be publishing it, he went on to pull the AG’s string and instruct him to say that the full report should not be published and shouldn’t shown to the Opposition leader, because the Opposition leader won’t just leave it in his drawer, but will speak out about it,” he emphasised, “It is shameful that in the 21st century, in a Western European democracy, the AG defends the Prime Minister instead of his country, the Constitution, freedom of expression and the political balance.”

Delia went on to appeal to people who had moved away from the party, encouraging to return to the PN, which was coming together, strengthening itself and delivering a strong and clear message.

“The Nationalist Party needs every one of you to participate. The PN won’t remain a party for the few, but is becoming a party for all. Its doors are wide open for people who used to be Nationalists and who are now realising that this party is the only voice for what is right,” he said in his closing arguments.

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