Fabian Demicoli

Female Entrepreneurship – Discussion held at Enterprise Consultative Council


GRTU has this
week attended as member of the Enterprise Consultative Council and contributed
to the discussion of on Female Entrepreneurship.

Mrs Michelle
Muscat, spouse of the Prime Minister of Malta, said that that we need to do
more in supporting females to remain in employment and venture into
entrepreneurship as we still have a very large number of females that vanish
for a certain period to raise their children and take care of their family.
This not only requires support for Government through childcare facilities and
tax incentives but requires a change in mentality. She continued saying that
women need to be role models for children and society they should be seen to contribute
to the economy and be successful not only in the traditional roles they are
associated with Government is in fact now looking at ways of expanding the  role of women.

Minister Chris
Cardona said that it is not about men and women, it is about utilizing the
resources of our country to their full potential. Women are a valuable
resource.  He said that more effort needs
to be done to push female entrepreneurship and he said that success is not
measured by the amount of women on boards only but by how able are we to build
a platform whereby women can set up a business. He also said that currently
only 19% of children attend child care, which is amongst the lowest in the EU,
and Government is seeking to double this by the next year.

The Minister
said that there are many initiatives in place and new ones starting amongst
which childcare, maternity leave and the link between education and industry.
Dr Cardona said he himself visited Sweden to learn about their golden rules on
female entrepreneurship. He also said that the Governments wants more female
entrepreneur ambassadors and he that he was committed to make this Government
the most feminist Government in Malta's history.

The National
Statistics Office contributed to the session by giving a number of figures.
Statistics show that the highest percentage of women in education are those of
the youngest age or mature students and females are most common in education,
health and law. In addition there are more female graduates. Women
entrepreneurs are more common in wholesale and retail as well as other
services, such as hairdressing.

While the
average working time for males in full time per week is 42 hours the average
working time for females is 39 hours. Unemployment rate as a percentage is
higher in females even though women are studying more. When it comes to the
level of births in 1980 there were 5,600 births and in 2012 this stood at
3,838. Births are most common amongst females aged between 30 and 34 followed
by those aged between 25 and 29. At the same time the fertility rate is going
down as females are having children at a later age. When it comes to childcare
it is more common in the informal setting through the family and neighbours.

Equality was
also a topic addressed and it was emphasized that during interviews and so on
employers cannot ask about the family arrangements of an individual. It was
specified that equality is not just in gender. There is a quality mark being
administered by the NCPE which is accessible even to SMEs and is tailor made
according to the enterprise's needs.

GRTU welcomed
the Minister's comments saying that our success should not just be measured by
the number of females on the board. We emphasized that it is important to give
females opportunities but it is also important to help females gain confidence
in themselves, change the mindset of people and support females with family
friendly measures which are the main reasons why women today are not given the
opportunities.

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