Minister Carmelo Abela addresses a digital debate with students on gender equality in a democratic society organised by MEUSAC
The Malta Council for Social and Economic Development (MCESD) is currently studying the local situation on gender gap on the place of work in order to address more robustly the issue of gender balance, through a recently set up working-group comprised of representatives of both employers and employees. This was stated by Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela – who is amongst other things responsible for social dialogue – while participating in a discussion with a number of students from Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School.
Entitled, ‘Equality in a Democratic Society’, the debate was organised by the Malta EU and Steering Action Committee (MEUSAC) and focused on themes related to gender equality such as gender-based violence, closing gender pay gaps, equal participation in the labour market, and achieving gender-balance in politics.
In his remarks, Minister Carmelo Abela said that he wants to live in a society, where gender equality is not only a commitment by government but also a commitment which is embraced by all sectors of the population.
“We need to change the mentality towards gender equality. From my end, when it comes to the boards under my responsibility, I am taking into consideration gender-balance in my decisions”. He also referred to EU statistics which show that while there are 44% of Europeans who believe men should be the breadwinners in the family, 43% of Europeans believe women should be homemakers and prioritise their families. Furthermore, 33% of women living in the EU have experienced some form of violence, while women also tend to earn around 15.7% less than their male counterparts for equal work of equal value.
“When we speak about gender equality, we are also speaking about democracy and fairness. Thus, I truly believe we need more education on gender stereotyping”, said Carmelo Abela. In this regard, he emphasised that education is crucial in order to tackle gender equality and end gender stereotyping in society and in the place of work, both in the present and future generations.
Minister Abela also highlighted the under-representation of females in Parliament and noted the legislative work that the government is currently undertaking to increase female representation in the national Parliament.
In his concluding remarks, he explained how social dialogue is an important part of decision-making and allows policy makers to use ideas and recommendations from different sectors of society, including students – as the youth are the leaders not only of tomorrow but also of today.
The debate was one of the activities organised by MEUSAC during an week of activities with the aim of making the European Union more accessible to citizens. Students participated in four groups, with each group representing one of the four largest political groups in the European Parliament. Throughout the debate, the students had the opportunity to put their ideas forward directly to Maltese MEPs Alex Agius Saliba, Josianne Cutajar and Roberta Metsola.