Malta’s accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004 has undoubtedly increased the need for legislation and policies to address equality issues, although the country had already made important commitments to gender equality at the international level. For example, in 1991 the country had ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Malta created a network of focal points on gender equality in government departments as an integral part of a mainstreaming policy.
In Malta, responsibility for gender equality rests at the equality body National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE). Set up in 2004, it carries out independent functions and is also entrusted with overseeing the implementation of equality legislation and proposing its amendments to the relevant minister when necessary; updating policies related to issues of equality for men and women; and liaising with government entities accordingly. Currently, the minister responsible for gender equality is the Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties.
Laws and Policies
The 2003 Equality for Men and Women Act (EMWA) seeks to promote equality between women and men, ensuring that no person shall be discriminated against because of his or her sex, and provides for the establishment of the NCPE. Moreover, Government policy on gender mainstreaming is specified in two circulars issued by the Office of the Prime in 2000 and 2012 respectively.
Methods & Tools
Gender-mainstreaming methods, mainly research and capacity-building, are available. These methods are implemented by the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE).