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Editor’s note

Contents Female Participation


Women power


Malta’s Female Labour Market Participation rate on the EU agenda 05 Female participation in the labour market 06 Enhancing equality of opportunity in employment 07 Initiatives at European Union level


Female Participation Video 09

Welcome to the second issue of the Voice of the Workers emagazine. This issue deals with Female Participation in the Labour market. Malta needs to boost its productivity in order to compete and excel. For this, we need all hands on deck, as they say. Women are a vital resource to the economy, and many agree VOICE OF THE


that more women’s participation needs to grow. Although improvements were registered, we still lag behind many of our European Union counterparts. This issue presents the facts, arguments and actions being taken, as well as the opinion of various social partners on the issue, both locally as well as on the European level. Enjoy!

Malta had the lowest woman participation rate among the EU member states at 44.1 per cent in 2011


Female Participation Howard Miller’s famous “We Can Do It” poster, produced by Westinghouse was an adaptation of Norman Rockwell’s painting of “Rosie the Riveter” , that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May 1943 in the United States. It was the American government’s effort to lure women into the country’s war effort. Note the masculine aspect of the poster that was a reflection of gender stereotypes of the day. Today, in peacetime, the participation of women in the workforce is essential in the competitiveness of the economy. VOICE OF THE



Women power WOMEN MAKE UP A LITTLE OVER HALF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, BUT THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO MEASURED ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, GROWTH, AND WELL-BEING IS FAR BELOW ITS POTENTIAL Female participation in the workforce is fundamentally important to all economies. For example, research indicates that raising the female labour force participation rate to countryspecific male levels would raise GDP in the United States by 5 percent, in Japan by 9 percent, in the United Arab Emirates by 12 percent, and in Egypt by 34 percent. In the EU, some of the states that lead in the female participation rate are : Denmark (76.1 per cent), the Netherlands (73.1), and Sweden (77.7). Of the VOICE OF THE


smaller member states of the EU, Estonia had the highest woman participation rate at 71.5 per cent that compared well with that of the large member states. Malta had the lowest woman participation rate among the EU member states at 44.1 per cent in 2011 (Eurostat, 2012). The reasons behind the lack of women’s participation in the workforce are various. These include cultural and social reasons. For example, in cultures where it is customary that the males in the household work, and females tend to rear children

and work in the house, women’s participation is consequently low. Although this culture is decreasing, it is still significantly prevalent in the older segments of the Maltese population. According to the European Commission, with regards to Malta, “the employment rate of women still remains low, parenthood still has a significant effect on the participation of women on the labour market, and the gender employment gap is the highest in the EU.” Also, according to Eurostat, figures for 2011 show that in the 20-64 years age group, 25.7% of the women opted for 3

part-time employment, in contrast to just 6.7% of the men who held part-time employment. This comparatively low rate of women’s participation in the workforce is costing us dearly in terms of Malta’s productivity and economic growth. Ever since Malta’s accession to the EU, we have been trying to improve the situation. From a measly 32.8%, the figure has increased to 44.1% in 2011. However, much, much more needs to be done. Increases to female participation in the

workforce can be realised through changes in behaviour. However, to do this, Malta must remove the hurdles that impede women to participate in the workforce. Through its Jobs+ initiative, the UĦM proposed a number of measures towards this aim. One of the fundamental instruments is the provision of access to childcare. This can effectively relieve pressures on women who cannot afford to work because of child-rearing responsibilities. This measure has been taken up by government, and free

childcare is being offered to all families. Other measures that are essential in encouraging the move to workforce participation is the development of family friendly measures at the place of work. These measures have been successful across the public service, but are still somewhat lacking in the private sector. Admittedly, not all private sector firms can afford such flexibility. However, with the more proactivity and creative flexibility, even the private sector can benefit from the increased participation of women. There are also fiscal measures which are effective in this regard, such as tax breaks for women who take up employment, as well as tax structures which incentivise families who participate more in the workforce. Essential to all this, however, is the importance of education and training. The highest participation rate is among women who attained a tertiary level of education. By contrast, the participation of women with a lower secondary level of education is very low. In fact, women with a low level of education and poor income prospects show a lesser tendency to join or rejoin the gainful employment sector. Education and training can provide better flexibility in an ever-changing work environment, a well as provide an environment where women entrepreneurs can create jobs themselves for others, possibly even by working together. Malta’s target rate of 62.9% female participation for 2020 still falls short of the European best. The faster we get there, the better for all of us.




Malta’s Female Labour Market Participation rate on the EU agenda

The female participation rate in the labour market is one of the key challenges listed by the European Union (EU) in Malta’s Country-Specific Recommendations for 2013. The EU noted that although significant progress has been made, Malta still has the highest gender employment gap in the EU. MEUSAC recognises the importance attributed to this issue by the EU, mainly due to its economic and social implications upon the Maltese economy and society. In fact, this was one of the topics discussed with civil society during a series of seminars entitiled ‘The Economic

Recovery: Overcoming the Crisis Together’. The participation rate of women in the local labour market stood at 26% in 1990. Despite the increase registered over the past 20 years, Malta still needs to work hard to create the essential work-life balance required to encourage more women to enter the labour market. One major aspect raised during the seminar organised by MEUSAC is related to the future demand for childcare facilities, expected to increase by more than 30% in the coming years. The discussion also showed that it is crucial to analyse the

issue according to different age brackets. For instance, Malta’s participation rate among women aged between 25 and 30 years is 75%. This rate surpasses the EU average rate of 66%. It is, therefore, necessary for Malta needs to embrace more flexible work conditions for both male and female parents, strengthen the service of childcare and afterschool facilities and create incentives for potential female entrants in the workforce. The investment of €38 million in childcare centres in the 2014 Budget is an important step towards accessible and affordable childcare facilities.

MEUSAC 280 Republic Street, Valletta VLT 1112 Tel: +356 2200 3315 • Fax: +356 2200 3329 • Email: VOICE OF THE



Female participation in the labour market The employed population of Malta is of 172,701. 109,827 (62%) of which are men 62,874 (34.8%) are women. This makes Malta the country with the lowest female participation rate in the labour market in the EU. In addition to this, Eurostat statistics show that Malta has the highest inactivity rate of women in the labour market of those aged between 25-54 years. 1 There are various factors which have contributed to low female participation in the labour market in Malta. A study conducted by the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality2 has concluded that family responsibilities are the major barrier for females to enter into the labour market. In certain EU countries with lower than average female participation rates, the gender wage gap is also a determining factor. However 1 C2.A0.25_of_inactive_persons_aged_2554_have_not_worked_during_the_last_ two_years 2 pdf

Malta has the lowest wage gap in the EU and therefore it is not considered as a determining factor in this regard. This issue has been recognised by local policy makers and various incentives have been introduced so as to try to alleviate the problem. This is reflected in the improvement of female participation rate in the past years. Fiscal incentives including tax deductions for returning mothers to work, free child care facilities, extension of maternity leave and the introduction flexi time have undoubtedly contributed positively to this issue. It is interesting to note that numerous females are not aware of the incentives that have been made available from Government for females returning to work. Hence the need for more awareness raising campaigns. Female participation in the labour market is even less in Gozo whilst a percentage of Gozitan female workers commute to Malta daily, others have permanently moved to Malta. Policies need to be introduced so as to create more jobs in Gozo for the Gozitan

female population. This would also eventually help reduce the ever increasing percentage of youngsters moving to Malta and establishing homes and family outside the sister island. Entrepreneurial activity amongst women has increased over the past years. However female entrepreneurship is still limited. First and foremost research has to be conducted to identify the needs of the market. Hence the necessity to ensure that the development in this field is closely monitored, evaluated and that measures to enhance this development is taken. It is also of utmost importance that funds are allocated to the development of female entrepreneurship and technical assistance given to start ups of women To conclude, one has to build on results achieved so far whilst addressing existing handicaps in order to facilitate integration of women in the labour market. The involvement of all stakeholders is necessary so that females can make a larger contribution to economic growth and development.

MCESD 280/3, Republic Street, Valletta, VLT1112 Tel: (+356) 2200 3300 VOICE OF THE



Enhancing equality of opportunity in employment NCPE recognizes the importance of equal opportunities in employment. Thus an increase of women’s participation in the labour market is promoted. It is significant that the third quarter of 2013 registered an upward trend in the female participation rate in employment when compared to the same period of 2012. The female employment rate, as issued by the National Statistics Office, reached 47.3% an increase of 3.3% - while 74% of these women have a full-time job. To continue encouraging more women to retain/ seek employment, family

responsibilities and childrearing and elderly care need to be shared so that carers can participate actively within the family and in paid employment. In addition to this, it is important that family-friendly measures, flexible working arrangements and other support structures are effectively accessible to both men and women at the workplace, since these are means which enhance equality of opportunity in employment as well as quality of life. Such measures are also considered beneficial for business, as they encourage staff to remain at their jobs whilst giving

companies value for their investment in the training of their employees Another area which NCPE is working on is safeguarding equal treatment between men and women in leadership and decision-making positions in employment. A Mentoring Programme is being set up to assist in breaking barriers in area of decision making. Research on quotas and other measures is being undertaken to reach the same objective . These activities are being implemented as part of the EU project entitled ‘Gender Balance in Decision-Making’.

For further information, contact NCPE on: Tel: (+356) 2590 3850 Email: or on Facebook VOICE OF THE



Initiatives at European Union level


There are many initiatives being undertaken at European Union level that may be of interest to you. These include conferences, information documents, tools, as well as online fora. This information, compiled by CIA REPRESENTATION OFFICE IN BRUSSELS (Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori) who are partners in this project,  will help you become aware of what is happening at European Union level, such as how the issues are being discussed, as well as opportunities for participation. 

MID-TERM REVIEW OF THE STRATEGY FOR EQUALITY BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN (20102015) The Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015) represents the work programme of the Commission on gender equality. In line with the European Pact for Gender Equality, it reaffirms the dual approach of specific actions and gender mainstreaming in five priority areas and one area addressing cross-cutting issues. new-skils-and-jobs-in-europe_en.pdf


The working document drafted by the EC is available at: strategy_women_men/131011_mid_term_review_ en.pdf

WORK-LIFE BALANCEMEASURES TO HELP RECONCILE WORK, PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE, LIBRARY OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 27/05/2013 This document filed in the European Parliament Library summarizes information about data and measures concerning the work life balance situation in Europe. Good work-life balance promotes the well-being of workers. It can also contribute to achieving major EU policy goals: stimulating employment (especially among women and older workers); promoting child and youth development; and encouraging gender equality. The document is available at the following link: bibliotheque/briefing/2013/130549/LDM_ BRI(2013)130549_REV1_EN.pdf

2014 CAMPAIGN EUROPEAN YEAR FOR RECONCILING WORK AND FAMILY LIFE In 2014 the United Nations celebrates the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. Celebrating families in 2014 represents a major recognition of the considerable role played by families, and in particular the important role of women, in all Member States and in Europe as a whole. Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) is currently bringing together a number of European NGOs, Social Partners and Family organisations across Europe to support the COFACE campaign to have 2014 designated as the European Year for Reconciling Work and Family Life. The following directs you to the ‘ Reconciling work and family life’ blog: Briefs information about the The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) 2014 Campaign are available at the following link:




UNION ÓADDIEMA MAGÓQUDIN (Malta Workers’ Union) Dar Reggie Miller, St Thomas Street, Floriana, FRN 1123 - Malta Tel +356 21220847 - +356 21234801 - +356 21236484 • Email Operational Programme II - Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life Project part-financed by the European Union European Social Fund (ESF) Co-financing rate: 72.25% EU, 12.75 MT, 15% Private Funds Investing in your future

UĦM Voice of the Workers eMagazine issue 02  

UĦM Voice of the Workers issue 02

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