Wednesday 12 December 2018

Gender pay gap hinders inclusive economy – President 

Malta’s gender pay gap, which stands at an 11 per cent average, was preventing the island from achieving a fully inclusive economy, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said.

Speaking today during the launch of a video to turn the spotlight on this national disparity — for every €1 a man earns, a woman gets just 89c — President Coleiro Preca called for a society that fully respected women’s dignity.

“This video is intended to create awareness about the complex factors contributing towards the gender pay gap. I hope that after watching this video, many will feel empowered to achieve practical solutions for gender equality,” she told a press conference held at San Anton Palace, Attard.

President Coleiro Preca added: “The video aims to dispel the many myths which still exist concerning the gender pay gap… It is not a straightforward issue so it requires our full engagement and involvement to be able to tackle it holistically, and effectively.”

A project of the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, this video is a CSR imitative by V Squared Media, done in collaboration with EY Malta, with the support of the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Malta, the National Statistics Office, and emPOWer: Platform of Organisations for Women.

It is being launched just ahead of November 18 — Malta’s Equal Pay Day, which symbolically marks the day when women in Malta effectively start working for free for the rest of the year. 

In the UK, women set up automated email replies saying: “I’m out of office until 2019”, to draw attention to the country’s gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women, which includes overtime, bonuses, and other perks, all expressed as a percentage of the average gross of the yearly earnings of men. 

It is not the same issue as equal pay. Equal Pay looks at whether men and women are receiving equal pay for equal work, within the same employment and at the same level. However, the gender pay gap is more complex and subtle, which is probably why many believe it does not exist.

The press conference was opened by PFWS director general Ruth Farrugia and attended by Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli.

Ms Rachel Cachia, V Squared Media director, said that as a female-led company passionate about gender equality, she felt it was important to make a contribution towards raising awareness of the gender pay gap at a national level. 

“We need to promote greater participation of women at company decision-making levels, through supportive and transparent company structures, and by encouraging more female entrepreneurship.” 

Ms Grace Camilleri, EY Malta associate partner, said: “We need to make conscious decisions to ensure there is a level playing field, and that women have the same opportunities to advance within an organisation. We need to eliminate the subconscious bias we have and start talking with our female employees about their career path, to ensure they reach their full potential.”

The aim of the video, which ties in with the spirit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is to encourage local businesses and companies to look into the gender pay gap issue and learn how they can combat this imbalance within their companies.

It follows on a conference organised by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society earlier this year, which drew attention to how we can all collectively work to close the gender pay gap.

Francesca Fenech Conti, a women’s rights activist and founder of the Facebook Group Women for Women, said: “Companies must be encouraged to be more gender fair, and we should showcase and promote the ones practising transparent, and fair management.”

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