Putting more women MPs will change 70-year status quo in House

Prof. Carmen Sammut says gender representation in Maltese House needs a strong push with corrective mechanism

Malta’s low number of MPs is akin to a stationary car that needs a push, said Prof. Carmen Sammut on a proposal to improve gender equality in the Maltese parliament.

The chairperson of the consultative committee that has advanced the gender equality quotas for the House said on TVM’s Xtra that Malta had been stuck on female representation for the past 70 years. “There’s no big difference if you compare the percentage of women in parliament in 1950 to today.”

Prof. Sammut also said the Renzo Piano-designed parliamentary building did not even consider certain facilities for the needs of women who are mothers, such nurseries and changing rooms.

She insisted that these were not ‘quotas’ that punish the over-represented gender elected to the House, but a mechanim to give women, the under-represented gender, additional seats when not enough women are elected.

The Nationalist opposition has proposed a number of amendments to the proposal.

Labour candidate Rebecca Buttigieg, hosted on the programme, said debates as to whether this would make the parliament too unweildy or increase the honararia bill were irrelevant to the issue at hand, which was achieving equality in the House.

Nationalist activist Rebecca Cilia also said that for more women to enter politics, the parliament should be a full-time job with MPs given all the assistance and resources ready they need.

Out of 67 MPs, only 10 are women – 15% of all MPs, with 11% in the Labour gropu and 20% in the PN.