Malta creeps up gender equality index, but women still lack power

Ranking 15th in the EU, Malta scores low in the power domain where women are still worse off in terms of economic power

Malta has ranked 15th in the EU on the Gender Equality Index, an indicator developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) assessing equality in work, money, knowledge, time, power and health, as well as violence against women and intersecting inequalities.

With 62.5 out of 100 points, Malta’s score was 4.9 points below the EU average, but has increased 2.4 points since 2017, and 6.5 points since 2005.

“Malta is progressing towards gender equality. Its ranking is the same as in 2005,” the EIGE said.

Malta’s scores are higher than the EU’s scores in all domains, except the time and power domains. In the power domain, Malta’s score is the lowest (32.2 points) of all. Malta’s score is highest in the domain of health (92.1 points), which places it in the top three in the EU.

Malta ranked 22nd in the EU in the domain of power, which saw improvements in the sub-domain of social power, but slightly worsened in the sub-domain of economic power.

In the sub-domain of political power, the share of women ministers has decreased (from 18% in 2005 to 12% in 2018). The share of women members of parliament rose (from 9% in 2005 to 15% in 2018). The current share of women among members of local councils is 22%.

Progress in economic power went backwards, driven by a drop in the share of women on the board of the central bank (from 25% to 15%), between 2005 and 2018. Women’s representation on boards of the largest publicly listed companies improved over the same time (from 3% to 9%).

In the sub-domain of social power, women make up 40% of board members of research-funding organisations, 29% of publicly owned broadcasting organisations, and 7% of board members of the highest decision-making bodies of national Olympic sports organisations.

Since 2005, Malta’s scores have improved the most in the domains of work (12.5 points) and money (12.2 points). Progress has been slower in the domains of health (1.4 points), knowledge and time (3.4 points).

Between 2005 and 2017, Malta improved its Index score, but had a lower score than the EU throughout the entire period. Malta moved towards gender equality at a faster rate than the EU average, decreasing its distance to the EU’s score over time.

Still, the EU’s score from 2017 is just up point to 67.4, marking its snail’s pace when it comes to gender equality progress.

Sweden continues to top the EU scoreboard, with 83.6 points, followed by Denmark with 77.5. Greece and Hungary have the most ground to make up, with both scoring less than 52. The biggest improver is Portugal, with an increase of 3.9 points, followed closely by Estonia with 3.1 points.

“We are moving in the right direction but we are still far from the finish line. Our Index, which sets a benchmark for gender equality in the EU, shows that almost half of all Member States fall below the 60 point mark. As the new EU Parliament and Commission shape and renew EU priorities for the next strategic framework, it is crucial that gender equality gathers speed,” said Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

Work-life balance and its connection to gender equality is a special focus of this year’s Index. In the EU, 28 % of women and 20 % of men are ineligible for parental leave.

In Malta in 2016, 43% of women and 12% of men aged 20-49 (potential parents) were ineligible for parental leave in Malta. Unemployment or inactivity was the main reason for the ineligibility in the case of 86 % of women. The remaining 14 % of women were ineligible due to an inadequate length of employment.

In Malta, same-sex parents are not eligible to take parental leave. Among the employed population, 12% of women and 9% of men were ineligible for parental leave.

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