Legal Provisions

​Currently at parliament stage, Bill no. 96(Equality Bill) and Bill no.97 (Human Rights and Equality Commission Bill) are being discussed. The Equality Bill states that, once enacted, at least 40% of the appointments made for officially designated bodies should be women. 

While none of the provision in the Equality Bill directly mentions “stereotypes”, it is to encompass the promotion of equality, thus entailing a pro-active effort to avoid stereotypes and overcome traditional gender roles.

In 2019, a report on the Gender Balance in Parliament Reform was presented to Parliament that proposed recommendations to address the dearth of women parliamentarians. In February 2020, Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Abela reaffirmed the government’s commitment towards gender balanced representation, not only in parliament but also in directorship and governmental roles. Moreover, the gender parity mechanism, identified in the 2019 reform report, would enable the increase of female representation in parliament. It is important to note that an agreement on said proposals was reached with the opposition.  Indeed, Act XX of 2020 was successfully approved by Parliament, and the mechanism which will ensure that at least 40% of representatives in the House are women will be enacted in the next general election.

In April 2021, the Maltese Parliament passed the Constitution of Malta and Various Laws (Amendment) Bill to amend the Constitution of Malta to introduce temporary positive measures necessary and reasonable in a democratic society to ensure de facto equality between men and women in politics and also the amendment of the General Elections Act to increase the number of electoral commissioners and ensure equal representation between sexes.

Amendments were also made to the surname regime in marriage by means of the Marriage Equality Act, introducing a new, gender equal regime aimed at eliminating discrepancies between husband and wife in the choice of surname.

In March 2024, the Maltese Parliament approved which criminalises virginity testing on women and girls in Malta.

The bill states that virginity testing is sexual violence against women, and has no scientific base or value. Moreover, it ensures a prison sentence of between a year and five years for those found guilty of helping, having encouraged or advertised, gave advice or forced a girl or woman to undergo virginity testing, irrespective of whether the woman has declared consent for this to happen.