Gender equality expert and university lecturer Anna Borg has argued that gender quotas for MPs aren’t insulting to women and that the power of political incumbency makes them necessary.
Borg wrote a status following last night’s debate on L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa, in which family lawyer Nickie Vella de Fremeaux and Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Mamo warned the proposed quotas risk sending out the message that women and men aren’t equal.
“To all those claiming that quotas are not necessary or are insulting this is my message: Unless you become aware of the invisible multiple hurdles that women face, you will continue to assume that this is insulting,” she said.
“Yet nobody batted an eye lid when Joseph Muscat, Adrian Delia, Clyde Caruana, Bernard Grech , Miriam Dalli and most recently Oliver Scicluna found themselves in the national parliament without ever standing for a national election.”
Borg warned that the power of incumbency makes it extremely tough for women to get elected to Parliament, seeing the vast majority of sitting MPs are men.
“It is proven that out of every three seats up for grabs, two will be taken by the current incumbents, who are in their vast majority men,” she said. “That leaves very little space for new faces, and unless special measures are put in place for a temporary period, this pattern will simply keep repeating itself.”
“Now you can wait it out, or you can address the problem. I know what I would choose. And if you did not mind having so many men imposed on us through co-option, I wonder why this sudden concern of having some brilliant women finally elected in Parliament!”
To back up her argument, she noted that PN MEP Roberta Metsola, whose political success is often cited as proof gender quotas are unnecessary, spent ten years trying to get elected to the European Parliament and only got there through a casual election when Simon Busuttil resigned.
“It was pure luck that [fellow PN MEP candidate] Francis Zammit Dimech was further down the list from Roberta Metsola, because had he been Francis Borg Dimech, he would have taken that seat due to our system of donkey voting which follows the alphabetical order,” she said. “So please, before you rush to quick conclusions read about the power of incumbency.”
Do you agree with the proposed gender quota law?