Whilst the gender pay gap in Malta is lower than the EU average, the gap is gradually increasing due to the rising participation of women in the local labour market, NCPE Commissioner Renee Laiviera said.
Speaking on Monday morning during a seminar on Gender Pay Gap and Gender Pension Gap, Laiviera said that women in Malta earn on average 12% less than men.
The seminar, which was organised by NCPE as part of the EU o-funded project “Prepare the Ground for Economic Independence’, reflected on topics such as gender stereotypes, segregation in education and the labour market, and other forms of issues which lead to the gender pay gap and other inequalities in the labour market.
NCPE has been working to address the gender pay gap through various outreach initiatives, including the conference, awareness campaigns and the Equality Mark, Laiviera said. She made reference to NCPE’s function to investigate complaints of alleged discrimination in pay. “NCPE concluded such an investigation in 2015, whereby equal pay was not given for equal work on the grounds of gender, which then resulted in a substantial increase in the salary of the complainant.” She explained that in the public sector salaries are transparent but that is not always the case in the private sector, where in some work places colleagues are not allowed to discuss salaries with their colleagues.
Laiviera said that in September 2018, NCPE launched a set of initiatives to address the gender gaps over the life course that hinder women’s economic independence as part of an EU co-financed project called ‘Prepare the Ground for Economic Independence’, which will run until August 2020. She also mentioned that NCPE are working on more family friendly measures which can give a proper work-life balance to employees. “There is a three year window during which member states are expected to implement this work-life balance initiative and for the first time it includes a ten day leave for fathers, which we are acknowledging the important role fathers have in our society,” said Laiviera. She said that the public service has increased this paternity leave to five days, but that only 13% of men use this parental leave, and that the issue must be addressed.
30,000 women joined or re-joined the labour market in the last five years
In a recorded video speech, Minister for European Affairs and Equality Edward Zammit Lewis highlighted the government’s commitment to ensure the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ is safeguarded in practice so as to continue to combat gender discrimination in employment. Zammit Lewis said that in general women are less economically independent than men even though women’s participation in the labour market increased significantly in the last years. He underlined the various measures which the government has implemented to support equal economic independence and empower more women to enter or remain employment, such as free childcare services, breakfast club and afterschool services.
“30,000 women joined or re-joined the labour market in the last five years,” explained the Minister and he highlighted that the government is committed to address the gender pay gap. He said that issues such as the gender pay gap must be addressed to sustain the economic growth of the island and to ensure the safe guard for all employees and that everyone has the responsibility to make the necessary changes to ensure everyone is treated equally.
Joana Micallef, NCPE Project Promoter, presented the context of the gender pay gap in Malta and the EU. She explained how gender segregation in education leads to segregation in the labour market, which ultimately contributes to the gender pay gap. On the note of gender pay gap, she explained a number of reasons as to why the gap has increased from 7.8% in 2007 to 12% in 2017. “More women started entering the labour market, but we can also see that there are fewer women in the labour market than men.”
Micallef also pointed out the causes to gender pay gap, such gender segregation in education, and stereotypes on roles. “We see more women graduating in the tertiary level, but we also see that more women go into the health sectors, whilst men go into course such as engineering or IT.” She also pointed out that more women take up part-time work than men and that this is due because more women take up family responsibilities. She also highlighted that there is a lack of women in high position and decision making decisions. “We can see that women work an average of 22 unpaid working hours a week, whilst men work 9 unpaid working hours a week,” stressed Micallef. She also highlighted that stereotypes of roles in the media contributes to shaping gender roles for both men and women and also a cause to gender pay gap.
Original article found on The Malta Independent