Seventeen women’s organisations are coming together under one umbrella to secure a stronger voice in the debate for equality that will resonate among women and girls to inspire them to take on leadership roles.

Called Empower, this new platform was inspired by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca and is being launched tomorrow during the events marking the International Day of the Girl Child.

“There is strength in numbers and our objectives are to work to break down the structural and cultural barriers impeding girls and women from entering politics and believing that they too can lead the way, alongside men,” Lorraine Spiteri said.

This umbrella organisation, which is being supported by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, is also focused on ensuring that girls grow up in full confidence and recognise their strength and leadership potential — this empowerment has to start from childhood.

“It’s important that such advocacy groups are not just seen as a female endeavour. The changes we are advocating are for the overall community, society, and economic benefit, to ensure the best use of the available human resources and talent,” Ms Spiteri said.

“This means that men – fathers, husbands, brothers, and colleagues, among others – are all welcome and encouraged to join in these advocacy efforts. Men can be the best ambassadors to help get these messages across to their peers.

“So although the platform is made up of women’s organisations we are open to collaborate with all those wishing to help in achieving our goals,” Ms Spiteri added.

 Among the important issues that emPOWer will be working on are the involvement of women in political and economic decision-making, the issue of prostitution, gender-based violence, the gender pay gap, and the controversial topic of quotas.

 “We want to break down the misconceptions and stereotypes to achieve real tangible equality,” Ms Spiteri said.

Tomorrow’s launch coincides with the start of the #Girl2Leader campaign, which under the patronage of President Coleiro Preca, is focused on sparking young girls’ interest in politics and seeks to overcome dangerous forms of gender stereotyping.

“There is an urgent need to widen the opportunities for children, and lift up our young girls in particular, by empowering them to become women who lead. It is for this reason that I am a proud patron for the #Girl2Leader campaign, launched by the Women Political Leaders Global Forum,” President Coleiro Preca said.

“Our country, and our world, needs inspiring role models and strong strategies for shared leadership. The world needs the precious participation of all our women and girls, alongside men and boys. In this way, we shall be creating the kind of future that we will be proud to hand down to future generations,” she added.

Tomorrow’s events to mark the International Day of the Girl Child will be happening simultaneously in Malta, the European Parliament, and Canada.

The 17 organisations making up emPOWer are: 100 Women in Finance; Business and Professional Women in Malta; Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs; Malta Association of Women in Business; Malta Confederation of Women Organisations; Malta Girl Guides; Migrant Women Association Malta; MissInTech; Moviment Nisa Partit Nazzjonalista; National Council of Women; Network of Young Women Leaders; Soroptimist Malta; Nisa Laburisti; Women Directors in Malta; Women’s Rights Foundation; Women Web Entrepreneurs Malta; and the Young Women Christian Association.

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