A Look At The Most Important Gender Equality Proposals From Malta's Two Major Parties
Here's what we can look forward to according to the manifestos
Voting day is only two nights away, and as the entire country takes stock of what has gone on over the last five weeks, it feels like there's a f*ck-tonne of information to process without even getting close to the electoral manifestos.
Whilst corruption, the economy and the environment have been super-hot topics in the campaign, we're keen to have a look at how the major parties have approached another very important issue for our readers – gender equality and civil liberties.
Firstly – how gender balanced are the candidates?
They're not. Female representation on all tickets is disappointingly low with only the Democratic Party (PD) somewhat approaching a 50/50 mark. The major parties really do have very little female representation:
Labour Party (PL)
11 out of 70 Labour Party candidates are female (16%).
Nationalist Party (PN)
24 out of 102 Nationalist Party candidates are female (24%).
Democratic Party (PD)
4 out of 11 Democratic Party candidates are female (36%).
Green Party (AD)
1 out of 10 Alternativa Demokrattika candidates are female (10%).
Which proposals do the major parties have in common?
If the manifesto proposals are fulfilled we're looking at some definite strides towards gender equality no matter the election outcome. Here's two significant gender-related improvements both major parties are promising if they gain power:
More focus on domestic violence
The Labour Party promises to introduce a law on gender based violence and domestic violence, whilst a Nationalist government will also set up a specialised domestic violence response team.
Greater help for working parents
PN has promised to consult with social partners in MCESD on the matter of increasing maternity leave from 18 to 22 weeks, with the additional four weeks being government subsidised. It also pledge to introduce four weeks of paternity leave.
On the childcare front – PL has committed to introducing more centres in specific zones, and working on nighttime childcare. The party is also looking at setting up childcare in or around Valletta. PN has said they'll extend free childcare services to all children, not only those whose parents are employed.
What about gender-balanced representation in politics?
Despite having less female representation in their candidate mix than the PN, PL is looking closely at the issue of gender balance in parliament and policy planning.
The party promises to discuss positive measures to increase female representation in parliament, to create gender equality planning in policy decisions and projects planned by their government, and also to have balanced representation in TV debates.
PL has also said that under its government boards within major entities will have to be made up of minimum 40% of the under-represented sex. This is mirrored by PN's pledge to ensure that at least half the members appointed to all public boards are women.
And that famous gender pay-gap?
Both parties have addressed the issue. The PL has promised that 'Equal Pay for Equal Work' will continue to be a priority under its government, continuing to move towards the elimination of discrepancies in pay for people who carry out the same work.
Meanwhile, PN said it will produce a national 'Action Plan for Gender Equality' and reducing the gender pay gap. The party also has committed to improving the possibilities of 'teleworking'.
Other proposals we're loving
Help for single parents...
PL will give a 'baby starter pack' to all new mothers-to be, which will definitely be a help for single mums. They're also giving €300 children's allowance to all new mothers, whether they're giving birth or adopting. In terms of separated and divorced parents, the PN has promised to ensure that as once paternity is ascertained in court, financial support will be given without delay.
And separated/divorced couples
PN will grant the opportunity to people who have any outstanding National Insurance payments – of which they claim are women due to their greater inclination to follow a non-continuous work pattern – to pay back the difference in order to ensure that they receive a full pension. A PN government will also exempt single parents from paying national contributions for the first year of their employment, or for the duration of their training in order to encourage them to join the workforce, train or study.
The PL manifesto promises to ensure that separated or divorced people are no longer penalised by the country's tax system. The party promises to work towards an amendment in the law which will ensure that individuals concerned can continue to benefit from their original tax computation, and not have to fall under a new system which results in larger tax payments.
Thank you to Dr Anna Borg, Director Centre for Labour Studies at UoM for providing us with data.