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Malta remains worse than EU average for gender equality

Economic and political power remains out of reach for many local women

Malta is very close to gender parity within the health sphere... but economic and political equality remains a distant prospect. Photo: Shutterstock

Malta is very close to gender parity within the health sphere... but economic and political equality remains a distant prospect. Photo: Shutterstock

Updated at 1.17pm with PN statement

Malta is still lagging behind the EU average in gender equality, leaving “considerable room for improvement”, especially when it comes to political and economic power, according to a new report.

Despite a slight improvement over 2005, Malta still ranked 15th in the EU28, according to an index published by the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The score in the domain of power stalled over a 10-year period. While some improvement was registered when it comes to the representation of women in decision-making positions in the social sector, the situation became more gender unequal when it comes to political and economic power.

Malta, however, fared pretty well when it comes to health, ranking third in the EU and gaining two positions since 2005.

The scores in the domain of health increased slightly when it comes to access and status, which measures perceived health, life expectancy and healthy life years

Life expectancy increased for both women and men.

Health domain - Malta ranks third in the EU, gaining two positions since 2005

Women on average live more than four years longer than men, while 70 per cent of women and 72 per cent of men assess their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

READ: Women MPs up by just five percentage points in 60 years - Miriam Dalli

Levels of satisfaction about one’s own health increase with levels of education, the gender gap being bigger among people with a low level of education.

Gender equality in the domain of work also improved, with the total employment rate standing at 68, meaning Malta is not far from its national Europe 2020 strategy target of 70 per cent.

However, according to the report, which considered data between 2005 and 2015, the full-time equivalent employment rate of women was about 35 per cent compared to 62 per cent for men.

The employment rate increases and the gender gap narrows as education levels rise. Among women and men forming a couple and having children, the full-time equivalent employment rate for women was 49 per cent, compared to 91 per cent for men.

The data also shows that gender equality improved when it comes to earnings and income, however, it stalled in relation to the distribution of wealth and poverty.

Mean monthly earnings of women and men increased, although the gender gap slightly widened.

Women earn about 15 per cent less than men per month.

The gender gap in earnings is wider among women and men forming a couple with children, among elderly people and highly-educated people, always to the detriment of women.

'Failed test' - PN

Nationalist Party MP and equality spokesperson Claudette Buttigieg said that the Prime Minister's pre-2013 talk of leading the "most feminist government in Maltese history" had all crumbled.

The biggest blow emerging from the EU report, she said, was the 15 per cent disparity in wages between genders. 

"Use the upcoming Budget to prove with deeds rather than words that it will be improving the lot of Maltese women, because as the EU said 'there is room for improvement,'" Ms Buttigieg urged the government. 

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