“All rights for women is not enough. All rights for all women” – International Women’s Day 2013

On tomorrow’s annual commemoration of International Women’s Day, aditus foundation notes that whilst Malta has seen notable improvements through the adoption of legislation, policies and services attempting to secure equal access to all human rights, women in Malta continue to face a series of challenges effectively limiting their human rights enjoyment.

In this regard, aditus foundation strongly reiterates the serious concerns expressed in 2010 by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in its Concluding observations on Malta.  The Committee urged Malta to ensure a national and comprehensive policy targeting stereotypical attitudes that treat women solely as mothers, wives and caregivers, undermining their equal dignity and status in other sectors of civic life.

Our concern regarding gender stereotyping is aggravated by the Committee’s underlining of its direct link with incidents of violence against women. We also fully support the Committee’s recommendation that Malta reclassifies rape and violent assault as Crimes against the Person (Title VIII, Criminal Code), instead of their present grouping under Crimes against the Peace and Honour of Families and against Morals (Title VII, Sub-title II, Criminal Code).

“Violence against women remains a serious problem of national importance.  We are happy to note that Malta signed the Council of Europe’s ‘Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence’, but the Convention will only be relevant once it is ratified and incorporated in Maltese law.” (Dr. Neil Falzon, aditus foundation Director).

Together with the above, aditus foundation stresses that any measure seeking to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of women should do so with regard to all women.  Transgender women remain outside the law’s protection when this fails to recognise them as women, and transgender girls face inhumane difficulties in exercising their right to education.  Migrant and refugee women run the risk of becoming a socially marginalised group if they remain unable to access services supporting their integration and, where necessary, their physical and psychological rehabilitation.  Double discrimination further exacerbates the situation of these women.

“International Women’s Day is a reminder to not only secure all rights for women, but to secure them for all women.” (Dr. Neil Falzon, aditus foundation Director).