“Companies with a higher representation of women at the most senior levels deliver better organisational and financial performance”, stated Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli during a workshop organised by Women Directors in Malta.
Minister Helena Dalli highlighted current statistics which show women’s underrepresentation in managerial positions and on boards in Malta. In spite of the employment rate of women having increased by 5.9% in the last three years, and 57% of graduates being women, only 4.5% of the board members of large listed companies registered in Malta in October 2016 were women.
Minister Dalli noted that such gender imbalance means that capable and qualified women have fewer opportunities than men to advance in their careers and that women’s talents and skills are thereby not being used to their full potential.
“Besides constant investment in education, over the years the Government has taken various measures to support persons with caring responsibilities, particularly women, not only to enter the labour market but also to remain in employment and be better able to advance in their career”. Measures such as free childcare services, the Breakfast Club, the Klabb 3-16 after school programme, the Maternity Leave Trust which combats discrimination at recruitment stage, as well as other family-friendly measures and flexible working arrangements facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life.
Dr Dalli however reminded that the Government included clear pledges in its manifesto to seek to strengthen equal opportunities for women and men in employment and challenge the underrepresentation of women at higher levels of companies/entities. Minister Helena Dalli listed incentivising employers through tax deductions, putting in place adequate systems of teleworking and flexible hours, extending free childcare services, enhancing the MicroInvest programme—particularly for companies where the majority of shareholders are women and self-employed women—and further consultations on the possibility for parents to make use of their sick leave when their children are sick.
Dr Dalli also stated that, “these initiatives, amongst more, are indicative of a society that fosters equality and that is committed to challenge gender stereotypes and discrimination that inhibit the participation of women in decision-making positions”.