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Malta’s Gender Quotas Bill Won’t Be Presented Until 2021, Rosianne Cutajar Says

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A bill to kickstart a gender-correcting mechanism for Parliament won’t be presented until the new year, Parliamentary Secretary for Equality Rosianne Cutajar confirmed to Lovin Malta.

The bill includes a bold set of proposals to lure more women into the political process and breakthrough hurdles they face in becoming candidates like their male counterparts. It was tabled in Parliament just before COVID-19 brought things to a halt.

At its core is a gender quota system, which involves adding up to 12 extra seats in Parliament for women if they make up less than 40% of the House of Representatives after an electoral process.

Each political party would get up to six seats each and would be taken by women who failed to get elected on the first round.

Some believe that quotas will lead to the tokenism of women. A woman with less than 20 first count votes could make their way to Parliament if the bill is passed.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Robert Abela’s recent major Cabinet reshuffle is the most representative of females in Malta’s history.

Former MEP Miriam Dalli was given a super portfolio as Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development while Justyne Caruana was made Minister for Education. Rosianne Cutajar remained Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality and Julia Farrugia was moved from Tourism to Inclusion and Quality of Life, a whole new ministry.

But even then, just three of Malta’s twenty ministers are women, four make up the 26-person Cabinet and only nine of 67 MPs in Parliament are female. 

Want to learn more about gender quotas in Malta? You can read Lovin Malta’s analysis here

Photo on left: Reuben Piscopo

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