Opposition and Government spokespersons on gender equality in Parliament

The current discussion in Parliament on gender equality representation in the House has raised a number of questions and various opinions with people commenting in favour and against the presented bill, including women themselves. Popolin discussed the issue.

Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reform, Rosianne Cutajar said that the lack of representation of women at the highest institution is a global challenge, and not only in our country. During the past 73 years of Maltese Parliament, female representation was constantly low with less than 13 per cent. Therefore, a technical committee was appointed to find a solution to the problem.

Opposition spokesperson Claudette Buttigieg agreed with the fact of addressing this challenge, while the Opposition believes that the bill itself is not the solution. Many people, she said, reiterated that a candidate should be elected in Parliament with the people’s vote and not through other mechanisms, irrespective if the candidate is a woman or a man. Ms Buttigieg said that, as a country, it is essential to have a wider choice of women who wish to be part of the Maltese Parliament.

Asked by the presenter about the need of a measure among the parties to encourage more women to present their candidature with the same parties, instead of a number of women being imposed in Parliament, Ms Cutajar said that the Labour Party is creating incentives to encourage more women in politics, including with training. She added that the women elected with this mechanism will not be considered as second class MPs.

Asked whether they are convinced that this mechanism will be a form of temporary measure to encourage female representation in Parliament, Ms Buttigieg said that this bill will have the ‘sunset clause’, which will operate only for a maximum¬† of 20 years – that is four elections – therefore the law itself indicates that it will be in force temporarily.

Cutajar and Buttigieg agreed on the fact that the bill should be approved so that representation in Parliament reflects the actual representation of Maltese society and therefore it is not enacted for matematical aims.