The Malta Independent 6 October 2022, Thursday
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Gender-Based Violence Commission blasts Robert Musumeci for 'misogynistic' comments

Karl Azzopardi Saturday, 16 January 2021, 16:16 Last update: about 3 years ago

Robert Musumeci has been called out by the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Commission for making what they described as misogynistic comments with regards to the gender balancing mechanism that is currently being discussed in parliament. 

Last Monday, parliament resumed after the Christmas break starting with a heated discussion among Members of the House of Representatives on the bill for the introduction of gender balancing mechanism in politics. 

The bill has received a lot of attention ever since it was introduced by Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reforms Rosianne Cutajar on 12 March 2020 with the aim of increasing the number of women MPs. 

Some believe that this mechanism would be a threat to democracy, making it too easy for women to be elected, regardless of the value they can bring to the house. Others, such as the PN and ADPD have noted that the bill shows signs of discrimination and degradation. 

Robert Musumeci, an architect, lawyer and frequent political commentator, also had something to say about this mechanism with a post on his Facebook profile which he uploaded on Friday. 

“Those who are saying that women will start being co-opted as Robert Abela wants do, have not managed to understand what is written in the document,” the post read. 

“What Robert Abela can do is to identify likeable, unpretentious young women who are loved by the people and encourage them to contest (There is no need for any rocket science to find them because we know who they are - at least I think I know who they are). If they don't get elected with the first five candidates, there’s a chance that they will be elected nonetheless if they miss the mark by a hair. That's all. No man will lose his place and no woman will be 'pimped'.”

Min qed jghid li n-nisa se jibdew jigu co opted kif irid Robert Abela ma fehemx x'hemm miktub. Li jista' jaghmel Robert...

Posted by Robert Musumeci on Friday, January 15, 2021

This post caught the attention of many, including the Commission for Domestic Violence, who felt that referring to women as having to be “sympathetic and unpretentious” was degrading and misogynistic. 

In a post on its Facebook page, the Commission called out Musumeci for what it referred to as misogynistic comments. 

Misogyny strikes again! A privileged man who obviously assumes he is himself 'sympathetic and unpretentious', describes the qualities a woman should have in order to be valid in politics, in his view.” 

The Commission remarked that the essential qualities for women to be in politics are far more substantial than what Musumeci is making them out to be – “there are many women who are capable, intelligent, responsible, have integrity and all the necessary gifts, apart from 'likeable'.” 

It expressed its disappointment towards Musumeci’s statement adding that such an oppressive speech is not worthy to say nor to be tolerated and asking for an apology to all women. 

“This is violence too - the violence of patriarchal and colonial discourse that infiltrates people's attitude towards the woman and what she is able to do.”

Il-Miżoġenija terġa' tgħolli rasha! Raġel privileġġjat li ovvjament jassumi li huwa stess 'simpatiku u mingħajr ħafna...

Posted by Commission on Gender-Based Violence & Domestic Violence on Saturday, January 16, 2021

Since then, Musumeci has written a series of other posts in which he stood by what he said, explaining that being likeable and unpretentious are two qualities that a politician should have regardless of how many degrees they have under their belt. 

He also noted what the Commission said, agreeing that there are women who possess the qualities it mentioned. However, he stood his ground once more, saying that being likeable and affable does not detract from those attributes. 

It's an important quality, I guess I'll say it is essential, to reach audiences (in politics, of course). That's all. I am convinced of it.”

Il-Commission ghandha ragun. Hawn ħafna nisa li huma kapaċissimi, intelliġenti , responsabbli, integri, u bid-doni...

Posted by Robert Musumeci on Saturday, January 16, 2021

The bill in question proposes that 40% of Members of Parliament should be made up of people from the under-represented sex. In the eventuality that during an election, the under-represented sex does not achieve 40% of the Members of Parliament elected, the number of MPs shall increase by no more than 12 members till that percentage is reached. 

The candidates elected through this bill will be apportioned equally between the absolute majority party and the minority parties in parliament. This temporary measure will be in use for the next 20 years unless it is revoked or adopted once again without any amendments.

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