The Malta Independent 24 June 2018, Sunday

President, Countess of Wessex preside over bell-ringing ceremony at Malta Stock Exchange

Thursday, 8 March 2018, 13:41 Last update: about 5 months ago

President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, together with the Countess of Wessex, presided over the bell-ringing ceremony of the Malta Stock Exchange on the occasion of International Women’s Day, organised by 100 Women in Finance in collaboration with the Malta Stock Exchange.

The President said that the commemoration of International Women’s Day should be a celebration of the many contributions that women make across our communities and our society. However, President Coleiro Preca said, “International Women’s Day must also be a reminder of how much more needs to be done, to ensure the equitable and dignified inclusion of all women, across every level of society.”

“Gender equity is a powerful indicator of economic growth and development”

President Coleiro Preca stated that economic growth and development, are essential for achieving holistic social inclusion and sustainable prosperity, adding that women’s economic security leads to greater prosperity within our families, our communities and society.

“For this reason, we must continue to encourage women and girls to pursue educational and professional opportunities in every sector, especially those which have traditionally been dominated by men. In this way, we shall not only be creating a substantial change in the lives of individual women and their families; we shall also be transforming Maltese society, by addressing the deeply embedded prejudices and outdated mentalities which keep too many women and girls from achieving their full potential”, said the President.

“The importance of education, in this regard, is clearly reflected by academic research”

The President quoted a study conducted by the World Bank which says that educated women enjoy more secure employment and higher wages. In fact, each additional year of schooling boosts women’s earnings by an average of 11.7% versus 9.6% for men.

“Therefore, the importance of enhancing contributions of women to promote processes of economic growth and development is clear. We cannot allow inequalities to be perpetuated, at any level, including the participation of women on executive boards, and at the highest levels of policy-making”, said President Coleiro Preca.

On decision-making, the President quoted the 2018 European Commission Report on Equality between Women and Men—which states that women account for just a quarter of board members in the largest publicly listed companies registered in EU member states—as well as the indicators from the World Economic Forum, which state that it shall take some 170 years to achieve meaningful gender parity on a global scale, if we keep the same pace as today.

“Women are still a long way from achieving full economic independence” – European Commission

A report by the European Commission states that in comparison to men, women still tend to be employed less, are employed in lower-paid sectors, work an average of 6 hours longer than men do per week, but have fewer paid hours and face fewer and slower promotions.

Taking a national perspective, the report goes on to say that women accounted for less than 20% of parliamentary members in Malta, and that Malta is among the worst performers on the gender employment gap. Although the size of the gap differs among different countries in Europe, a number of similar causes underlie the situation. The lack of pay transparency has been recognised as one of the major obstacles for women facing pay discrimination.

The report also states that women in the European Union are over-represented in industries with low-paying levels and under-represented in well-paid industries, thereby significantly contributing to the gender pay gap in the European Union.

Here, President Coleiro Preca appealed for deep-rooted reforms to be achieved in our institutions, “so that they reflect the depth of our aspirations for equality, equity, and full inclusion for women and girls”, adding that women’s economic contributions transform the economic outcomes of our countries in positive and far-reaching ways.

“Investing in women is therefore not only a moral obligation. It is also the right economic decision”, concluded President Coleiro Preca.

The event was also addressed by Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli.

 

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