The Malta Women’s Lobby has published a list of 30 proposals it says will narrow gender inequalities, should political parties introduce them.

Their document, dubbed a 'femifesto' to contrast it to a 'manifesto', highlights several inequalities which women and families still face in Malta today.

The list includes concern about a growing gender pay gap, the morning after pill not being available everywhere, abortion still being illegal and fathers only getting one day of paternity leave.

“We are calling all political parties to be clear about their objectives on issues related to equality between women and men,” the lobby said.

“If parties are keen to receive votes from women, we expect them to work in ways that make a positive difference in women’s lives.”

The lobby is an umbrella organisation that brings together 14 different NGOs. 

What is including in the ‘femifesto?

The manifest calls to introduce an office to settle cases related to equality issues between women and men.

On violence against women, the femifesto calls to resolve the massive backlog in cases of violence against women by proposing sufficient dedicated magistrates who work exclusively on cases of violence against women. It proposes that FSWS, Agenzija Appogg and Domestic Violence services are provided with better funding.

On prostitution, the lobby calls to introduce a model that criminalises buyers and reduces the demand for trafficked women and girls.

Regarding women in the media, proposals call to ensure better-balanced representation of both sexes in local media, and to avoid the use of sexist material, through guidelines and training. The lobby calls for regulations to be enforced, and sanctions for those who breach such regulations.

On sexual health, the lobby wants to remove VAT on sanitary products and provide free contraception. Before proceeding with the law on surrogacy, ensure women’s organizations are involved in the discussion, since the law will largely impact women.

The femifesto includes seven proposals on work-related issues, calling for more flexible hours for both men and women, increase paid paternity leave for fathers and introduce ‘generous paid paternal leave’ for both parents. Another proposal called for all workers, parents or not, to be granted leave to be take care of a sick or disabled family member.

One proposal called to ensure migrant mothers housed in open centres are well supported with childcare services to allow them the possibility to enter the labour market.

Other proposals, included focusing on education, women in business, funding for women’s organisations and rising cost of living.

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