Gender-neutral MPs will stand to benefit from the gender quota bill if it’s introduced to Parliament.
A historic bill being tabled in Parliament will introduce constitutional amendments to lure more of the “underrepresented sex”, which includes women and gender-neutral people, into the House of Representatives. At its core is a gender corrective mechanism, that would kick in if less than 40% of the House is made up of minorities after an electoral process.
Then, up to 12 seats would be added for women or gender-neutral people who failed to get elected in the first round.
In the current parliamentary context, Labour and Nationalist parties would get up to six seats each. A third party would also benefit if they were elected.
Both parties have endorsed the bill, but concerns have been raised as to whether it will lead to the tokenisation of women and non-binary people. Women with less than 20 first count votes could make her way to the House if the bill would pass.
Following the second reading of the bill, Malta’s Youth Council warned that it could discourage women from contesting due to the lack of merit needed to become an MP.
“While giving a seat to women on the premise of their gender may diminish the gap in numbers, this will not do much to change the mentality of the voter,” it wrote in a statement.
“Efforts to increase diverse representation in Parliament should focus on encouraging more people to contest elections and improving civic education on how voters should select their preferred candidates,” it stressed.
However, authors of the bill argue that political representation is not solely about merits and competence, but about rights and justice.
It’s clear that the government is keen on bringing more women into power, with a recent Cabinet reshuffle proving to be the most representative of females in Malta’s history.
But even then, accurate representation remains an issue. Just three of Malta’s twenty ministers are women, while four make up the 26-person Cabinet.
Check out Lovin Malta’s detailed breakdown on the proposals of the gender quotas bill here.
What do you make of this bill? Comment below