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Women in Malta

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on 26 February 2017

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Transcript of Women in Malta

The 1920s
1922: Ms Tessie Camilleri became the University of Malta’s first female graduate. She followed courses in English Literature, Philosophy and Latin Literature
The 1930s
1931: Mabel Strickland requested the Royal Commission on Maltese Affairs for voting rights for women who owned property.

1936: Editorial of The Times of Malta agreed that women are to be permitted to sit for the exam. The Editor was however against the employment of women since, in his opinion, “it is not practical, wasteful and uneconomical” considering their resignation from work upon marriage.

The 1950s
1952: The Malta Arbitration Tribunal stated that full pay will be granted to women as given to men, on condition that these women were not married.
The 1960s
1964: The Constitution of Malta laid down the principle of equal pay for equal work
The 1970s
1970: Secondary education became compulsory for all children, thus giving more educational opportunities for girls.
The 1990s
The 1940s
1943: On the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrated in London, Lady MacRobert sent a message to Maltese women ‘Women in Malta are symbol to women of the entire world for courage and fortitude’
The 1980s
1980: Dar merhba Bik, shelter for battered women run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent, Balzan was officially opened on the 16th June.


Women in Malta
Highlights from a 100 year journey

1925: Ms Blanche Huber became the first female to graduate in Medicine at the University of Malta
1935: Women applied for a competitive exam for the appointment of clerical assistants with the Malta Civil Service
1944: The Women of Malta Association was set up. Founding member was Josephine Burns de Bono. The Association fought for female suffrage.
1946: Primary school education
became compulsory from 5 to 14
1947: Maltese women were granted the right to vote during the first election that took place after WWII
1947: Two women candidates, Agatha
Barbara and Helene Buhagiar contested
the election. Agatha Barbara was elected and became the first female in the Legislative Assembly.
1955: Equal pay for equal work legislation passed in UK. However the Defense Department based in Malta applied this scheme only to British employees stationed in Malta.
1957: Statistics show a total of
18 961 female workers (20% of gainfully employed). The female workforce is mainly made up of young unmarried women mostly employed as nurses, teachers, salesgirls, clerks, dressmakers and domestic workers.
1967: The National Council of Women, affiliated to the International Council of Women was set up with the aim of removing all legal, economic and social disabilities of women and promoting their effective social participation.
1967: The Equal Pay Act came into force for government employees. Wages of female government employees were increased by an annual 5% until they reached full parity with male workers. Previously female employees were paid two thirds of the salary of their male counterparts.
1974: The Parity of Wages National Standard Order laid down a scale of increments to attain full parity of wages between male and female workers in the private sector.
1978: A pressure group Min-naha tan-nisa was set up that was instrumental in the setting up of kindergartens, family planning and a number of subsequent policy changes.

1980: The ‘marriage bar’ was lifted by an OPM Circular . As a result female employees in the Government service could retain their jobs after marriage.
1981: Conditions of employment Act was amended to allow female employees in the private sector to retain their employment after marriage.
1981: Maternity leacve for pregnancy and confinement was introduced to all full time female employees.
1982: Ms Agatha Barbara became first female President of the Republic of Malta
1987: Full time employees with the government service obtained the facility of one year unpaid leave to care for young children. Non-working pregnant women received financial benefits from the State.
1987: The provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms were incorporated in the Maltese Law.
1989: Secretariat for the Equal Status of Women within the Ministry for Social Policy was set up.
1990: The Association of Women in the Mediterranean Region was set up with its Secretariat in Malta.
1991: Malta ratified CEDAW and amended Constitution to recognise equality of sexes as a fundamental human right.
1992: Il-Moviment Mara Maltija was set up mainly focusing on working for the plight of abused women
1993: Soroptimist International Malta was set up
1993: Parliament approved the Family Law giving equality to spouses regarding parental and property rights.
1994: The Domestic Violence Unit was set up.
1995: For the first time, the number of students at the University of Malta surpass that of men
1996: Notary Miriam Spiteri Debono became the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives.
1999: An Advisory group on gender issues in the broadcasting media was set up by the Malta Broadcasting Authority
The 2000s
2003: Equality for Men and Women Act (2003) was passed.

2004: The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women was set up to identify and monitor national policies with a view to preventing and addressing discrimination and promoting gender equality.

2004: The MCWO (Malta Confederation of Women's Organisations) was set up to represent the concerns, needs and interests of women through dialogue and networking at a national and international level.

2004: The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (2003) clearly laid out the illegality of harassment on the grounds of gender, as well as introduced and regulated conditions of employment that are ‘family friendly’.

2006: The Domestic Violence Act came into force and the Commission on Domestic Violence was set up.

2010 - 2015
2011: Divorce is introduced in Malta

2014: Civil unions for same sex couples introduced

2014: A Department for Gender Studies set up at the University of Malta

2014: The Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women is ratified by Malta

2015: The first ever Women's Forum as part of CHOGM is held in Malta

All information presented credited to Ms Lorraine Spiteri and Dr Marceline Naudi, with heartfelt thanks.
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