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Activists says women’s issues not priority for government as majority of proposals remain shelved

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The Malta Women’s Lobby has said it feels ignored by government after only three proposals, from 30, were implemented.

The 30 recommendations addressed issues ranging from concerns over a rising gender wage gap, to abortion and domestic abuse. The only ideas taken up by government according to the NGOs were a femicide statute, paternity leave, and a gender equality strategy.

“The message sent by government is that issues concerning women and mothers are not as significant as others,” Anna Borg, Chairwoman of Malta’s Women Lobby, told MaltaToday on Tuesday. 

The Malta’s Women Lobby, an umbrella organisation of 14 NGOs, issued its own ‘femifesto’ for the 2022 elections.

During the press conference, Borg stated that the lobby had presented its femifesto to the government immediately following the elections, but that the lack of human resources and funding rendered the document ineffective.

‘A woman had to die for the government to listen

The femifesto included four proposals related to domestic abuse, one of which was the introduction of femicide into Maltese law.

One solution, presented by Professor Marceline Naudi, addressed the large backlog in cases of domestic violence against women by appointing another magistrate who would solely focus on such cases.

Only a week ago, following the main findings of the inquiry into Bernice Cassar’s murder, Justice Minister Jonathan Attard said with the latest increase in magistrates, there will be two assigned to hearing domestic violence cases.

Yet, Naudi claims that if the government had listened, Malta would not have witnessed another femicide. 

Better financing for FSWS, Aenzija Appo, and Domestic Violence programmes was also considered in the plan.

Significant improvement for women in media

The Malta Women’s Lobby saw a substantial improvement in the representation of women in print and online media.

The manifesto had called for “a better, balanced representation of women and men in the local media,” and a clear set of guidelines to avoid the portrayal of women as objects of hypersexual stereotypes.

The organisation has noticed a dramatic improvement in both the number of women working in the media and the female sources sought for articles. But, the same cannot be said about broadcasting media, according to Louiselle Vassallo.

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