The current bill to address the gender imbalance in Parliament fails to address class issues that prevent women from getting into politics, Moviment Graffitti warned.
Instead, the activists proposed legal reforms to ease these hurdles, including having gender quotas for electoral ballot sheets, which would force political parties to attract more women candidates.
While the group did agree that more must be done to address the poor representation of women in politics in Malta, they said that the current bill will “only continue to enhance the voice of the two main political parties and enforce the status quo.”
“In fact, the gender corrective mechanism as is currently being proposed will only function if there are two elected parties. The proposed measure will also see the addition of a maximum of 12 seats, increasing the size of Malta’s already significantly large Parliament,” the group warned.
“Quotas on candidates’ lists would put the onus on parties to address the alarmingly low percentage of female representatives in Parliament without leading to an increase in Parliamentary seats or concentrating power further within the two parties.”
Moviment Graffitti called for legal reforms to ensure that a minimum share of each party’s candidate list is composed of women. They also called for more studies into why women are not making it to Parliament to address the current gender imbalance.
“These studies would also inform important discussions on why women are still underrepresented. Any measure should also address rampant sexism and gender stereotypes, the limitations of gender stereotypes, and the lack of work-life balance that stops women from becoming MPs.”
Another issue, the activists added, was that the bill fails to address the class system in our country.
“Currently, a political career is not accessible to all classes. Instead, it is dominated by a man’s network that will only be perpetuated if this proposed mechanism does not give way to serious electoral reform.”
This could be done through serious electoral reforms, like making being an MP a full-time job, holding parliamentary sessions in the morning, increasing leave for both parents to help women juggle work and family life.
What do you make of their proposals?