The Malta Independent 17 May 2022, Tuesday

Engerer appointed on EP’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee

Wednesday, 26 January 2022, 12:26 Last update: about 5 months ago

Labour MEP Cyrus Engerer has been chosen by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament to represent them within the European Parliament’s committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

Engerer will be the first Maltese person appointed to sit on this committee since Malta joined the European Union, the Labour Party said in a statement.

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“The fight towards true and proper equality cannot be done if we remain passive. There are fights that need to be taken up - the fight for gender parity, the fight against domestic violence and femicide, the fight towards ensuring women are empowered in all sectors of society in order for them to have an equal chance and footing in society,” Engerer said.

The MEP explained how the recent femicide of Paulina Dembska in Malta, and the subsequent protests that occurred following her murder, inspired him to take more concrete action in the field of gender equality. 

“The whole saga made me think more about how polarised we are as a country on the issue of gender equality. We need to come together and find common solutions. Currently, 81 women and only 19 men sit on the FEMM Committee. And yet the issues discussed in the FEMM Committee, including equality for women, affect all genders. Patriarchy hurts men as much as it hurts women and the rest of society.”

Engerer went on to explain that his goal as a Maltese Member of the FEMM committee will be to build a bridge between everyone in society in order to ensure that we are finding common solutions to common problems.

“Patriarchy is not about overvaluing the masculine, but it is about undervaluing the feminine- and it severely harms men specifically because of this aspect. How many times have we heard the phrase “boys don’t cry” or “man up” when it comes to men expressing their emotions? How is it possible that we still say this in a society where out of every 8/10 people who commit suicide are men? The problem is patriarchy. People from all genders are literally dying because of patriarchy.”

“This is all unacceptable, but it still happens specifically because of how our society undervalues women and the feminine, and at other times misconstructs empathy and care as feminine traits. This needs to change. FEMM recognises that this must change in our society. And I am ready to take up the FEMM fight,” Engerer concluded.

The FEMM Committee is tasked with dealing with legislation and non-legislative initiatives relating to women’s rights, such as domestic violence, femicide, family rights, female participation in all levels of society and empowerment. Besides ensuring equal gender representation in political decision-making, the committee is dedicated to both protecting women’s rights and values as well as utilising them to further strengthen the economy.

The S&D's priorities on the FEMM committee are improving maternity and paternity leave rights, promoting equal treatment and pay for men and women, and promoting equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women.

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