The Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna noted with satisfaction how during the third quarter of last year, while male participation remained constant over the previous 12 months, female participation achieved record increase of 3.8 percentage points, reaching 47.8%.
“We are still lagging behind Europe in this regard, but the increase is very encouraging and it shows that we are catching up fast. We hope that with the social measures being enacted, this will accelerate in the years to come,” Prof. Scicluna said.
Prof. Scicluna was delivering the opening speech at the International Council of Women meeting in Malta on Monday 28th April, 2014.
During his address, Prof. Scicluna expressed appreciation for the work done by the National Council of Women to improve the status of women on the island. He noted that the Maltese female workforce represents a resource that has not been fully tapped.
“As a long term University faculty member, it pains me to see more women than men following our university degree programmes, only to find later that more men than women remain in the workforce. So much talent and training being underutilized,” he said.
Prof. Scicluna underlined that the Government’s free childcare service initiative is crucial to address this situation and facilitate women’s’ access to work by providing quality and affordable childcare that will alleviate family burdens.
“It allows women to reach their potential while knowing their children are in safe hands. Of course, childcare centres shouldn’t simply be places to park children. I know my colleague, the Education Minister, has been working hard to introduce an element to stimulate children so that they gain a worthwhile experience, learning and interacting with other children,” Prof. Scicluna said.
Prof. Scicluna recalled that this was also the reason why the Labour party in Opposition had supported the extension of maternity leave, even carrying out a study in this regard. “We were pleased to note that government at that time changed its contrary position and enacted this extension into our labour laws,” Prof. Scicluna said.
– Tuesday 29th April 2014