President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca presided over the launch of an awareness video about the gender pay gap, coordinated and produced by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. This video is the direct result of a conference which the foundation organised earlier this year.
Having brought the issue of the gender pay gap to the fore during her speech on Republic Day in 2016, the President noted that both major political parties represented in Parliament have committed themselves, through their electoral manifestos, to address this important concern.
“I hope that this video will further explain our concern about the gender pay gap, as up till now, there is still some confusion between the issue of equal pay and the gender pay gap”
President Coleiro Preca stated that equal pay is already covered by legislation, while the gender pay gap is not. She said that the conference which was organised by the Foundation earlier this year had received the support of diverse stakeholders, many of whom were also present for the launch of the video. These included the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Malta; the National Statistics Office; the National Trade Union Forum; EMPOWER – the Platform of Organisations for Women; Ernst and Young Malta; and the former Minister for Equality in the Icelandic Parliament, who legislated the very first gender pay gap law.
“During the conference, our efforts focused on highlighting the social injustices, which are inherent to the gender pay gap. Furthermore, it is important to remember the far-reaching social and economic implications which such injustices create against the plight of gender equality in our society”, President Coleiro Preca stated, whilst adding that the gender pay gap is a direct impediment which prevents us from achieving full gender equality and effective social justice in our society.
“The gender pay gap does not only create gender inequality during working age, but it also directly affects the pensions of retired women”
According to data from the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap is one of the factors that is making one third of women poorer, when compared to men, when they reach the age of retirement. On a national level, the President said that indicators are telling us that the gender pay gap in Malta currently stands at 11%.
“However, this does not account for variation by industry”
President Coleiro Preca said that the gap between women and men working in the financial and insurance sector is a staggering 28.3%, and the gap between women and men involved in professional, scientific, and technical activities is 23.1%.
“We must acknowledge the fact that the gender pay gap in Malta has almost tripled over four years, from 4.5% in 2014 to 11% in 2018. Furthermore, according to research from the Department of Labour Studies, we know that women, in comparison to men, are employed less often and are engaged in lower-paid sectors”, the President stated. This same research tells us that women work, on average, 6 hours longer per week than men, but they are paid for fewer hours, and they face more difficulties to achieve promotions.
The President said that in order to make a long-term and sustainable change, she believes that we must follow the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its seventeen Sustainable Development Goals – a mandate that our country is ascribed to, and must achieve. In particular, SDG 5 specifically targets the need for gender equality, and for the empowerment of women and girls, as part of Malta’s commitment to a future of equality, equity and justice for all.
“I am convinced that all of us believe that the socio-economic empowerment of women will not only benefit women as an intrinsic part to achieve our rightful dignity”
The President said that the socio-economic empowerment of women will contribute to the holistic wellbeing of our families, our communities and our societies as a whole, and further stated that “our efforts to achieve full gender equality and equity in the economic sectors of our country will reflect our underlying commitment to promote universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, as women’s rights are human rights.”
President Coleiro Preca encouraged Parliament to take up the issue of the gender pay gap to ensure that it is effectively addressed, and urged our authorities, private sector, and civil society to go to the next level of achieving full gender equality, by working to close the gender pay gap through awareness and legislations, for the benefit of all women but also in the best interest of the girls and young women who will join the Maltese workforce in the future.