In recent years, Malta has done giant steps when it comes to gender equality, the rights of the LGBT community, as well as gender liberation. However, although the perspective on human rights and identity has started to shift, the realities of daily life are slower to follow.

Lately, a number of studies have shown that women in Malta are far behind those in other European countries in a number of sectors and positions. For example, Eurostat reported that while ‘on average, the percentage of women on boards in the EU is 24.6 per cent’, as of 2017, in Malta ‘only seven per cent of board members were women’, making us the bottom ranking country with regards to women serving as company directors or board members – https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171122/local/seven-per-cent-of-company-directors-are-women.663724

On the other hand, although a European study conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), shows Malta to be at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to instances of domestic abuse and violence (where the majority of the victims are female), it also concluded that the severity of that violence might be the worse in the EU – https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171121/local/severity-of-violence-against-women-in-malta-the-worst.663647

These current indicators do not paint a comfortable picture, however it is also not as bad as it may sound. In fact, a ranking algorithm created by MEPRanking.eu suggests that in certain areas, as in for example politics, women are finally gaining popularity, outranking already established male politicians of the same calibre – https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171120/local/maltas-women-meps-outperform-men-ranking-suggests.663624

There are a number of organisations and foundations in Malta whose main aim is that of promoting equality. The National Council of Women, a non-governmental organisation founded in 1964, provides a forum for women of different backgrounds to come togather as individuals and as representatives of affiliated organisations to exchange ideas, formulate policies, and promote change. Its aim is to promote a better quality of life, better opportunities, and secure the removal of any unfair or unequal issues which may thwart women from reaching their full potential. Amongst others, it has lately proposed steps to be taken by the Malta Attorney General and the Malta Police Force to review and update reforms on current procedures concerning human trafficking, as well as making its voice heard with regards to issues such as the legalisation of prostitution and the Embryo Protection Act. More information can be found at http://www.ncwmalta.com/

Another important local group is the Women’s Rights Foundation, headed by lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic. The main aims of the organisation are to empower and inform women about their legal rights, as well as preventing domestic violence through the raising of public awareness. For more info, please goto http://www.humanrightsplatform.org.mt/members-item/womens-rights-foundation/

Domestic Violence is also faced on a governmental scale through the Commission on Domestic Violence, set up in 2006 (http://meae.gov.mt/en/Commission%20on%20Domestic%20Violence/Pages/Overview.aspx), not to mention Aġenzija Appoġġ within the Foundation for Social Welfare. This has its own Domestic Violence Unit, among others – https://fsws.gov.mt/en/appogg/Pages/Intake-and-Protection-Services/Domestic-Violence-Unit.aspx

On Thursday 23rd November, the Commission on Domestic Violence launched ‘Love doesn’t Hurt’, a nation-wide campaign set to span 16 days, during which around 35 events will be taking place. The last day of the campaign, December 10th, will wind down with a solidarity march from Blata l-Bajda to Castille Square.