When a Maltese teenager is scared to call herself a feminist

In a meeting with MEP candidates organized by the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, some of Malta's children expressed their concerns over the country's lack of social progress.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
When a Maltese teenager is scared to call herself a feminist - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

A 17-year-old Maltese student specializing in mathematics and physics spoke out about the daily sexism she encounters in schools:

"I hate being told by male students that the only thing I can do are sandwiches in the kitchen; I can do algebra, I can do physics, I can do anything a man can do."

In pointing out the prevalence of this attitude among Malta's younger generation, the teen has shed some light on the sexism that continues to flourish, unchecked, in the country's schools.

"At school I am scared to call myself a feminist because it means I hate all men. But I love my boyfriend, I love my father, I love my grandfather… feminism is about equality."

Was there not a single history or civic education class that could have promoted a more adequate understanding of this issue in her classmates' minds? Despite numerous feminist voices in Malta's public sphere, why have none of them penetrated the educational environment?

MEP Miriam Dalli, lauded by Politico for being one of Europe's key "doers", offered an account of her own experiences in the European Parliament and commiserated with the young woman. Dalli urged the young woman not to give up, and seek allies among her male classmates who support feminism.

Details from the story:

  • Children delegated by the Children and Young Person's Council, presented their list of aspirations to MEP candidates at a roundtable conference at the president's palace organized by the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.
  • At the event, a 17-year-old maths student called out sexism that is often disguised as “a joke”. 
  • In a very adult-sounding children's manifesto, the delegates also outlined their wishes for a fairer and more inclusive policy, covering gender equality, disability, migration and asylum, as well as the environment.
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