Women have never exactly dominated space within Malta’s Parliament but the gender imbalance in the House reached a 70-year high yesterday following the resignation of Nationalist MP Marthese Portelli.
There are now only eight women in the House – Julia Farrugia Portelli; Rosianne Cutajar; Justine Caruana; Claudette Buttigieg; Therese Comodini Cachia; Kristy Debono; Maria Deguara and Marlene Farrugia.
Portelli looks set to be replaced by a male counterpart, just as Helena Dalli was when she resigned her parliamentary seat last year to become EU Commissioner for Equality.
However, the situation looks set to change in the near future after the Nationalist Party officially endorsed a proposal by the government to introduce temporary measures to increase the number of women in Parliament.
As per the proposal, each party would be able to add six women MPs each, over and above the number of MPs elected to the House.
Minister for Tourism & Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli expressed her disappointment at Parliament’s loss of another woman, but satisfaction in the Nationalist’s agreement with proposals of gender corrective mechanisms.
“It is ironic that this step forward coincided on the day we lost another female voice in Parliament,” she said in a statement.
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Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reforms Rosianne Cutajar also expressed her content for the Opposition Party’s decision to endorse the mechanism.