Female gender violence still pervasive

Carmen Sammut speaks at 10th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, British Isles and Mediterranean Regional Conference.
Carmen Sammut speaking at the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference.

At the 10th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, British Isles and Mediterranean Regional Conference, held at the Parliament of Malta, the Pro-Rector for Student and Staff Affairs and Outreach Carmen Sammut emphasised the pivotal role of family, community, and education in empowering women and girls.

Under the overarching theme of Resilient Women: Moulding Girls into Strong Women, the conference delved into pressing global challenges affecting women and girls. 

One of the key concerns addressed during the conference was the pervasive issue of violence against women and girls, the lack of women in leadership roles, and the resistance against gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Participants and panellists engaged in discussions on international best practices to tackle these challenges, head-on.

Professor Sammut highlighted the critical need for women’s inclusion in international peace efforts, particularly emphasising their disproportionate victimisation in modern conflicts. Citing examples from conflict zones such as Gaza and Ukraine, where women and children constitute a significant majority of casualties and displaced individuals, she underscored the vulnerability of women to abuse and discrimination in conflict situations.

Furthermore, Professor Sammut drew attention to the presence of structural violence and systemic discrimination against women, even in nations not engaged in active conflict. She pointed out the prevalence of gender-based violence as a glaring example of such injustices.

At the national level, Professor Sammut commended the Gender Balance Reform in Malta, which has led to better representation of women in the Maltese parliament. However, she urged for the establishment of a women’s parliamentary caucus, inspired by successful initiatives in other Commonwealth nations. These platforms, she argued, could serve as catalysts for policy change by bringing together allies from diverse backgrounds and political affiliations to advocate for gender mainstreaming and substantive reforms.

Highlighting the diversity among women, Professor Sammut emphasised the importance of solidarity and collaboration to advance shared goals. She urged women to leverage their differences as strengths and to focus on areas of convergence to drive progress towards equity and inclusion.

In conclusion, the 10th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Conference served as a platform for meaningful dialogue and collective action towards empowering women and girls, both locally and globally. By recognising the intersecting challenges they face and fostering collaboration across various sectors, participants reiterated their commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive society.

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