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The National Council of Women Annual General Meeting “Towards a regeneration for the Future”
NCW Malta Annual General Meeting 2021 was held at The Palace Hotel Sliema on Thursday 22 July 2021 In her opening address, outgoing NCW President, Mary Gaerty, called on the Assembly to join her in a prayer for past members of NCW, for those who lost their life due to the Covid-19 and for the women whose lives were taken away due to femicide, which saw an increase during Covid-19.
Elimination of Violence against Women - 16 Days of Activism
Elimination of violence against women – 16 Days of Activism. You too can do something about it! The 25th of November is the kick off date for the annual international campaign of 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence. It starts on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and runs till the 10th of December, Human Rights Day .
Human dignity should be respected at all times.
The National Council of Women would like to express its concern about the video posted online portraying men pelting a woman with eggs during a stag party. Human dignity should be respected at all times. As a society, we should condemn any type of abuse even if this is done by consent for financial gain.
OSCE/ODIHR anti-trafficking survey for survivors of trafficking in human beings
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has received numerous responses and has decided to extend the submission due date for the survey of survivors of human trafficking to Monday 26 August 2019.
On 2 July, the Joint Liaison Task Force Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings (JLT-MS) was launched at Europol. This new operational platform will allow liaison officers from all EU Member States to step up the fight against constantly adapting criminal networks.
Malta is EU country with highest rate of tertiary education graduates in employment
A report in the Independent states that Malta stood above the EU average in 2018 when it came to the employment rate of graduates aged 20-34 who had attained a tertiary level education within the previous three years,
European Commission
On 2 July 2019, Ursula von der Leyen was nominated by the European Council to the position of President of the European Commission; she will be the first women and the first German since Walter Hallstein
Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
1. Education, training and life-long learning Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market. 2. Gender equality Equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including regarding participation in the labour market, terms and conditions of employment and career progression. Women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
The gender pay gap in the EU and the European Pillar of #SocialRights
1. The gender pay gap in the EU is 16.2%, that’s 16.2% higher than it should be! Gender equality is the second key principle of the European Pillar of #SocialRights for a reason 2. The European Pillar of #SocialRights supports the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Something NCW Malta has supported since its creation!
Gender Equality in the Media Sector
This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. It examines key elements of the European policy agenda pertaining to gender equality in the media sector. It also reviews existing research on women's representation within media content and the media workforce. The study provides analysis of actions to promote gender equality in the media at both EU and Member State levels. Finally, it presents case studies of gender equality in the media sector in four Member States: Austria, Malta, Sweden, and the UK.
Empowering women and girls in media and ICT
On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting on empowering women and girls in media and ICT. The meeting, which will bring together EU institutional representatives, members of EU national parliaments, experts and stakeholders, will take place on 08 March 2018. The presentation and debates will deal with the topics of women shaping media, empowering women and girls through digital inclusion and women’s movements and advancing equality in the digital age.
Digital healthcare / health insurance
In the view of the EESC, given the digital revolution in the field of health, it is vital to maintain and promote a health insurance system which serves the needs of everyone, and is solidarity-based, inclusive and non-discriminatory. Inclusion and fair access for all to good quality health services (digital or otherwise) and commitment to these are in fact prerequisites for universal health coverage.
Gender equality in European labour markets
In order to improve gender equality in labour markets, the EESC considers it necessary to draw up an integrated and ambitious European strategy to tackle systemic and structural obstacles and lead to adequate policies, measures and EU funding programmes for improving equality between women and men, thus fostering "more equal economic independence of women and men" . This would also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Services to the family
Developing services in private homes in order to achieve a better work-life balance Every family has a home and clothes to maintain, meals to prepare, children to care for, elderly parents or ill or disabled family members who need help. Women often have to work part-time in order to carry out these tasks, missing out on the career for which they have trained or on time they would use for training.
Women and girls digital gender gap
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, attempts to reveal the links between the different factors (access, skills, socio-economic and cultural), which prevent women from having equal access to digital technology. It then suggests ways of dealing with online and offline inequalities to the effect of closing the digital gender gap and improving women’s and girls’ digital inclusion and future technology-related career paths.
Plastics, human health and environmental impacts: The road ahead
Plastics have been with us for more than a century, and by now they’re everywhere, for good and for ill. Plastic containers and coatings help keep food fresh, but they can also leave behind neurotoxins such as BPA in the human body. PVC is used for everything from pipes and flooring to furniture and clothes, but it contains compounds called phthalates that have been implicated in male reproductive disorders. Studies have also shown that childhood exposure to environmental pollutants can have significant negative effects later in life, including reduced labor force participation and even earnings.
European Commission aims to significantly reduce the gender pay gap
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years. The average gender pay gap in the EU currently stands at 18%. To lower this rate, the Commission plans to raise awareness among employers, encourage initiatives to promote gender equality and support the development of tools to measure the gender pay gap.
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019 The Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Women was held on Saturday 26th January 2019, at The Victoria Hotel, Sliema. President Mary Gaerty spoke about the work which the Council has embarked on during 2018. This included pensions, education, violence against women, work and entrepreneurship, work life balance and the challenges faced by women on a daily basis. She also highlighted the fact that the National Council of Women is looking ahead at the constant changes
Work-life Balance
Better work-life balance for EU citizens: Presidency reaches provisional agreement with the European Parliament
The National Council of Women supports the Act to provide protection for human embryos
NCW has always advocated for legislation of alternative IVF treatment not least because of the sensitivity and the consequences for both parents and society if it had to remain unregulated. NCW believes that IVF treatment should be for heterosexuals within a stable family environment The Council has always supported the protection of embryos as the first cell of a human life and, with the development of alternative treatment over the past years this has become possible successfully.
Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and i
Today, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms.
UfM adopts new project to support women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean
A project aimed at developing women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean through the development of effective field projects and the setting up of networks and platforms, was adopted by Senior Officials of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) at a meeting held last month.
Date: 29/09/2009

Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF)
CHOGM 2009
 “Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future”

Malta’s Consultation

Monday 8th June 2009 at the Royal Hall, The Palace Sliema

The Consultation in Malta was organized by the National Council of Women Malta with the support of the Commonwealth Foundation. It was chaired by NCW President Ms Grace Attard. Over sixty representatives of Government, Employers Associations, Unions, Academia and Various Interest Groups (NGOs) attended. During a full day of presentations and deliberations, the discussion centered round National and International issues among them Human Rights, Education, Gender, Environment & Climate Change and above all the Financial Crisis.

The Foreign Office representative conveyed a message from Mrs Cecilia Attard-Pirotta  B.A.(Hons.),M.A.(Diplomacy) Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs                                                                                                                                   where she stated that the CPF has now become an integral part of every CHOGM. 12 years since its inception, it continues to be relevant in voicing the concerns, opinion and aspirations of Civil Society. She continued by saying that The Commonwealth People’s Forum’s contribution remains invaluable and that the involvement of the various civil society organisations is of paramount importance. The extraordinary work carried out by the Commonwealth People’s Forum is indeed instrumental in assisting the Commonwealth to keep its ear to the ground in pursuit of its objectives. Its input will most certainly continue to be fundamental in the run up to this year’s CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Consultation was opened by HE President Emeritus Prof Guido de Marco, former Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, who gave a brief historical overview of the Commonwealth and stressed the importance of the Commonwealth of today which is open to participatory discussions rather than monologues. “We are proud to have a Commonwealth with space where people can voice their beliefs in the future, where they can share the problems of yesterday and tomorrow, exploring common grounds, strengthening values, inform and influence the citizens and their leaders,” he said.

Commonwealth Foundation Deputy Director Vijay Krishnarayan outlined the scope of the CPF, explaining that the main thrust of the CPF and its processes this year will feed into and influence CHOGM rather than attempt to set up a parallel discourse. This year the Commonwealth People’s Forum will have the same theme as CHOGM: “Partnering for a More Equitable and Sustainable Future.” There is a mandate to encourage dialogue between government and civil society and influence the outcomes of the Heads of State meeting at source. The focus on the same theme and the convergence of the political process will facilitate the engagement between Governments and Civil Society organizations. Through this, different models of partnerships might emerge but we are conscious that a policy for partnership is needed as well as institutional development and capacity building not only for Civil Society organizations but also in Government.

Doris Bingley gave an overview of the proceedings taking place in Trinidad & Tobago next November and explained to those present how they can get involved, how to make their voices heard by governments, how to network with other organizations and how to share their ideas and experiences by participating in the eight assemblies being held in Port of Spain. “On this day of consultation we can combine our proposals and comments to influence the COW (Committee of the Whole) which takes place ahead of CHOGM.” She continued. She also urged the participants to consult the CPF Kampala Statement to CHOGM 2007 “Realising People’s Potential,” described by the Foundation as a living document, as they needed to decide what to highlight for continuation in CPF 2009. There is continuity from one CPF/CHOGM to another.

A brain storming session took place on issues of concern with a view to identifying the most pressing matters for joint consideration and action at the CPF 2009.

During the discussion on Human Rights led by Dr Ruth Farrugia, Faculty of Laws University of Malta, it was stated that “All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated”. Over the last past decades ,the definition of Human Rights is being challenged to incorporate not only the traditional view of civil and political rights but social, economic and cultural rights as well as rights that address responsibilities to address global developments. Sustainable human development aims to eliminate poverty, promote human dignity and rights, and provide equitable opportunities for all through good governance, thereby promoting the realization of all human rights - economic, social, cultural, civil and political

In our region the protection of social rights will be further tested during the current economic crisis. Like other human rights they are enshrined in treaties agreed by governments, such as European Social Charter and The Lisbon Treaty which it is hoped will be ratified by the end of 2009. The challenge is to ensure that these agreements are enforced in reality. This requires that people are informed about them and have structured institutions to voice their views and seek redress, when their rights are violated. In this way, active civil society groups can provide a valuable contribution.

The scale and impact of the current crisis is still largely unknown, but it is expected that women and girls in both developed and developing countries will be particularly affected by job cuts, loss of livelihoods, poverty, increased responsibilities in all spheres of their life, and an increased risk of societal and domestic violence. Historically, economic recessions have placed a disproportionate burden on women. Women are more likely than men to be in vulnerable jobs, to be under-employed or without a job, to lack social protection, and to have limited access to and control over economic and financial resources.

We must also remember that in Malta in 2005 the Commonwealth Heads of Governments “affirmed the importance of promoting tolerance, respect, enlightened moderation and friendship among people of different races, faiths and cultures… and of building a common platform of unity against extremism and intolerance”.  This declaration must be given the highest priority and implemented in all Commonwealth Countries.

Education provides a fundamental tool for self-improvement and national development.  We advocate life long learning programmes especially now that we face the effect of the global economic downturn on social sectors. We urge Governments to give importance to education for children and adults, to allocate adequate resources, and together with the international community work to improve this very important sector. It is essential to improve education systems with a view to facilitating the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and standards.

There is also great concern at the impacts of the global crisis on young people: specifically youth unemployment, disaffection and migration. Extreme poverty and the ensuing social exclusion cannot be understood in economic terms on the basis of figures alone, but must also be understood in terms of human rights and citizenship; to eradicate poverty we have to educate and develop skills to meet the future needs of the economy.

It was highlighted that in Europe it was necessary to promote University-Business Cooperation. Bridges should be built between university and their curricula and the world of enterprise, and that businesses should have the possibility to complement study programmes, to offer internships, organise open days for students etc. This will be a constructive element in approaching jobs with creativity and innovation. This would benefit future generations.

The new demographic challenges that are surfacing in Europe could be tackled by addressing the situation of women who live in poverty, who have unequal and inadequate access to nutrition, housing, education and pay, and who face difficulties in reconciling work, family and private life.

Even here there is the need for more effective lifelong learning and training actions aiming better to equip citizens, especially the less qualified, to (re-)enter the job market smoothly and without discrimination and to contribute to social innovation. Entrepreneurship of women and young people is recommended using ICT and communication competences together with financial literacy and language skills.

It was stressed that in Europe there is the vital need to support mothers, by means of family allowances during infancy and the creation of a suitable framework for their return to the labour market, paying particular attention to single mothers in view of their vulnerability. The implementation of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005–2015 should be a priority. The Commonwealth must continue to work together to ensure closer collaboration between governments and gender-focused civil society organisations and institutions to ensure concerted support to the elimination of gender inequalities and poverty eradication.

Together they should address the gaps and persistent obstacles and challenges faced in the implementation of the Plan of Action and support initiatives that increase financing for gender equality work, through gender-responsive budgeting.

We must increase the participation of women in political decision making by achieving 30% target set out in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015.

We must also address gender-based violence and prevent the trafficking and abuse of women and children, by promoting victim protection and awareness-raising through the media, as well as education and training. 

We must mainstream gender equality in all policies, strategies and actions, and financial measures which directly support women’s empowerment

Environment and Climate Change was another topic discussed, led by Vince Attard,  CEO Nature Trust Malta. We mentioned the over exploitation of resources, the over fishing, the ozone, the pollution as well as the marine and other aquatic ecosystems.
Addressing the threat of climate change is a current global priority. There is broad consensus that climate change is best addressed in the context of sustainable development. Unless it is effectively dealt with, climate change will have a dramatic impact on the environment and on economic and social development. Climate change is also likely to exacerbate both natural disasters and potentially conflicts over natural resources.

More women need to get involved in environmental issues. Women’s responsibilities in households and communities as stewards of natural resources has positioned them well for livelihood strategies adapted to changing environmental realities. Women tend, however, to be underrepresented in decision-making on sustainable development, including on climate change, and this impedes their ability to contribute their unique and valuable perspectives and expertise on climate change.
We looked at how the present financial crisis can have an effect on the environment.
On the positive side, some scientists think that the crisis will move people to use less energy and help limit carbon emissions. The global slowdown means people will have less money to buy. This translates into fewer products and goods being manufactured which means fewer natural resources used.
Pessimists argue that with the financial crisis, there will be less economic activity around the globe within the next few years. This could mean people putting the economy ahead of the environment, although until very recently, the environment got centre stage in world attention. With less money to spend on research for dealing with environmental concerns, important programs may be suspended indefinitely as donations are reduced or driven away from environmentally oriented institutions

Education as always is very important, organising school programmes such as ECO schools projects and activities to train our youth, raise awareness and prepare for an environmentally conscious society.
Beyond the financial crisis
We analysed the present financial crisis through an expert Edwin Calleja,                                                                             European Economic and Social Committee Member and Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, who gave an overview of how it was brought about and proposals on how countries can plan beyond to use this recession period as an opportunity to move forward. He mentioned the causes of the crisis which pointed to an evident failure of supervisory and regulatory rules governing the banking and financial sector.

The discussion focused on the effects of the crisis. How The OECD reports that as a result of the bursting of the speculative bubble in the financial sector, there were serious and immediate contractions in the real economy (production of goods and services). The social consequences are dramatic.  Un-employment in the OECD area in the year to March, 2009 rose by some 11 million people. Globally the number of unemployed could rise by more than 50 million people at the end of 2009. The Major Banks, Insurance and financial institutions had to be assisted by US and EU governments. National Protectionism Rears its Head

Highlighting what needs to be done to avoid such a crisis in the future, the discussion evolved round the mismatch that has developed in the system between finance that went global and governance that remained national. This must be resolved either by governance becoming more globalised or finance less globalised. We need better bank supervision & regulation of the financial sector.
The emphasis on increased participation in consultation and decision-taking by organized civil society, especially the social partners, was discussed at length. Although, there will be decisions to take that will be hard to accept by society, organized civil society should be involved to share the responsibilities with government on the measures that need to be taken by society as a result of decreased government expenditure. This requires adequate and accurate information, to explain to as large a proportion of society, the changes everyone has to accept in work attitudes and ethics, in life-style for a realistic sustainable development policy
We have been talking about the environment and climate change in the same context of the economy and our social agenda. When we get out of this crisis the emphasis on joint responsibility will surely focus on green investment and green jobs. Climate change will have crucial implications for our future living conditions and will also leave a decisive mark on the world of work.  The core idea of “green jobs” must be that environmental protection, employment growth and economic development go hand in hand.

Prof Peter Xuereb, Jean Monet Chair in EU Law & European Integration; Chair European Documentation & Research Centre, University of Malta, made a presentation and led the discussion on Empowering civil society to engage in the democratic process. He took a macro (global) approach to the theme as it is at this level that the most important decisions are taken. It is at this level that we need global democracy, because the major threats of pandemic disease, major conflict, life-threatening and migration, climate change and other issues, can be realistically and effectively addressed at global level. And … We need civil society there. We need structured institutions that enable all stakeholders including civil society to mediate well for the wide variety of peoples around the globe.

European Union democracy, imperfect as it is - is founded on twin pillars ---- representation of STATES....and representation of PEOPLES. And so also does the Preamble of the United Nations Charter refer to "We, the peoples of the United Nations”. Yet, peoples are not yet represented in the UN bodies.

Prof Xuereb recommends a Peoples’ Assembly, as a forum for the Intercultural Dialogue that is so badly needed to uncover and resolve our misunderstandings, injustices, conflicts, artificial differences, mutual simplistic misrepresentations. We need a global peoples’ assembly as part of the United Nations Institutional Architecture, which would be KEY to resolving today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. We need a Peoples’ Assembly of civil society representatives, above the state level, at the global level with as many women as men elected to it. We need global scrutiny and response to safeguard the future of our world.

States themselves should welcome this participation, not only for reasons of principle, but for the invaluable and expert contribution that civil society can make. The discussion highlighted the role of the Commonwealth Foundation to drive this concept forward with credibility using its influence globally. The Commonwealth Foundation can be a lead player when it comes to democracy and civil society and can be a lead player in this.


      1)  Partnerships
These are essential for the way forward. The different models of partnerships such as Civil Society and Governments; Global Institutions and Organised Civil Society; Academia and Business; North and South; East and West; all require a good governance policy, fair terms and sustainable transformation, as well as proper engagement and dialogue. To this end capacity building for civil society organisations and for institutions and Government Departments is necessary. The Commonwealth is well placed to foster partnerships and cooperation to achieve a shared vision

2)  Beyond the Financial Crisis
The stabilisation of the financial and banking sector that helps industry to develop;  The need for means of assuring our citizens that their hard-earned savings will not vanish in the hands of those that are entrusted with their money. Priority to support our productive and service industry – Governments need to create the necessary structures to involve the social partners and organized civil society at large in the process of consultation and decision- making at all levels to set our countries on the new road to economic recovery where ethics, social responsibility and sustainability have to play an intrinsic part of our plan.

3)  Peoples’ Assembly
A People’s Assembly was recommended as a forum for the Intercultural Dialogue that is so badly needed to uncover and resolve our misunderstandings, injustices, conflicts, artificial differences, mutual simplistic misrepresentations. This leads to strong structures for Civil Society acting at Global Level. Modern technology is able to bring global civil society together. The Commonwealth can drive this idea forward with credibility and influence. The Commonwealth Foundation can be a lead player when it comes to democracy and civil society and can be a lead player at global level.

4)  Intergenerational Solidarity
The promotion and applicability of Intergenerational Solidarity at National, Regional and International Level is a priority. The above theme may be put into practice if and when the wealth generated through economic activity is fairly distributed between all citizens. Demographic Change – this is resulting in fewer births in Europe which will have an effect on pensions and development aid. One also notes the migration of global workforce, brain drain and loss of cultural identities. We urge Governments to give importance to education for children and adults, to allocate adequate resources, and together with the international community work to stabilize our communities.

5) Education for the benefit of future generations
It was recommended that the Commonwealth Foundation promotes University-Business Cooperation to carry forward the wider socio-economic transformation agenda. Education is important for employment, climate change and the environment and is a constructive element in approaching jobs with creativity and innovation. We recommend the use of modern technology (ICT) to extend education opportunities, improve and develop skills and create entrepreneurship. An integrated approach including academia and research and development for innovation should be essential tools to face the future

   6)  Health
Policies on public health including health and safety at the workplace and the elimination of child labour to promote improvements in the quality of life for all citizens were recommended. Strengthening and implementation of health systems with increase emphasis on hygiene and nutrition.

7)   Gender
We recommend the implementation of the “Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005–2015.” The Commonwealth must continue to work together to ensure closer collaboration between governments, gender-focused civil society organisations and institutions to ensure concerted support to the elimination of gender inequalities in all areas,  and poverty eradication.

Encourage all Commonwealth Countries to increase the participation of women in decision making by achieving 30% target set out in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality 2005-2015.

8) Human Rights
It was considered that more could be done to influence the international agenda concerning the decent work agenda and actively promotes compliance with ILO conventions, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that this could contribute to achieving world peace and also to the protection of the Commonwealth interests and values.
We urge the use and application of human rights in dialogue and debate, the incorporation of human rights treaties and the establishment of independent national human rights institutions.

9)  Climate Change
Countries need to examine the challenges of climate change and to identify strategies,  develop creative financing and investment arrangements for decentralised renewable technology and implement measures to promote energy efficiency,  apply ecological, sustainability, ensure that every energy project, small or large, incorporates gender mainstreaming with a budget designed to build in gender equality;

Doris Bingley
Hon General Secretary, NCW Malta
CSAC Member



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