Last year Malta took a giant step in the direction of progress under the Labour Government as the Maltese were finally graced with the morning-after pill. All the campaigners deserve a massive shout-out for all their work. Better late than never, as they say.
This year, with an election just around the corner, both Busuttil and Muscat are trying to one-up each other with all sorts of motherhood-friendly proposals. But guess what? We’re not all mothers.
Here are a just a handful of ideas that would make a whole lot of difference to a whole lot of women.
1. Contraception Choices
Let’s not beat around the bush, sex is a part of life for quite a few Maltese women.
We’re still lagging behind when it comes to contraception, in terms of price, accessibility and choice. The next step in the right direction would be to introduce the contraceptive implant, which is a plastic rod inserted into your upper arm that emits hormones to stop you getting preggers. It is the most efficient form of birth control and hassle free. It’s perfectly safe and legal, but it’s not readily available yet in Malta. Easily sorted.
2. Adequate CCTV
We need to feel safer. If we can’t have more policemen “on the beat” in Paceville and Swieqi then we’re going to need adequate CCTV. If, God forbid, an incident were to happen on the street, “Neighbourhood Watch” style CCTV cameras in extra locations would make justice a whole lot easier. Sexual harassment is a social disease, but with our frequently lax punishments, CCTV would be a good way to amp up the pressure.
3. Women’s Refuges
A lot of women’s refuges are taken care of by the church in Malta, which is awesome. But we need another one. When women’s forums are upsettingly plagued with cries for help on a regular basis due to domestic abuse, there’s only so many times we can give the same advice.
“Get yourself out of there” is all well and good, but where to exactly? Instead of inaugurating sculptures, it would be nice to inaugurate another women’s shelter.
4. Sexism Ban On State Blogs
Under no circumstances should sexism be tolerated (or worse, encouraged) on a website that’s got close ties to parliament. Take, for example, the unfiltered and unregulated sexist comments and “jokes” insinuating the Russian whistleblower in the ongoing Egrant saga “blew more than a whistle”; that sort of reporting is completely unacceptable.
5. Gender Quotas
“Women are not tuna” was the quote of the week when quotas were being discussed for parliamentary positions for females. Yet there are only 9 female MPs out of 69 as it stands. If that’s what it takes to even out that number, then so be it.
We literally need these women; their ideas, their perspectives, their brains. I’m sure prominent female MEPs like Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola have inspired many young women, they are role models in politics that young girls growing up in Malta rarely saw before.
I should hope the candidates are sure enough in themselves in knowing that they deserve to be elected – to hell with any “doubts”.
6. Equal Pay And Bonuses Watchdog
Not to be confused with kickbacks, bonuses should be given fairly to people who do their job well. When wages are pretty measly in Malta compared to other thriving EU countries, and/or cities, performance driven bonuses go a long way. It’s nice to be appreciated and is an incentive to keep on slaying. A little more transparency in the workplace could do the trick, because asking who gets what is awkward. Oh, and people tend to lie.
We could learn a few things from the prospering foreign i-Gaming companies – they treat their dedicated staff very well indeed. And they’re not even friends of friends.
7. Affordable Housing
If you must build a block of flats, make them one-bedrooms. Gaining financial independence is important for any grown woman. Traditionally, Maltese women waited until they got hitched until they flew the nest. But this is 2017.
Unfortunately in 2017 making rent if you have a “normal job” in Malta becomes a bit of a problem if you’re not cohabitating, (i.e sharing a bed), and if you enjoy weird habit like consuming food and water.
A full timer working for above minimum wage at a busy restaurant or clothes shop in Sliema gets around €800 – €900 per month. A room to rent in a basic shared house in nearby Gzira is €400. One new outfit a month from Topshop could cost €50 – €80. You do the maths.
BONUS: Free Tampons for All Women
Hey, it’s worth a shot. It’s election season after all…