On the 8th March 2018 when the entire world was celebrating Women’s Day, our students had the opportunity to attend to a career job fair held at the MCC. This initiative was organised by BPW Malta for the 5th year consecutively, aiming to encourage and empower young women to believe that they are important catalysts in our society.
First, students had the opportunity to speak to various professionals about their career, asking about what their job entails and the career paths they should undertake if they want to pursue that particular profession. In addition, various leaflets were distributed with job descriptions. The second part of the morning was a question and answer session. Each school had to prepare questions that were then answered by H.R.H. the Countess of Wessex and H.E. President Coleiro Preca.
The President encouraged all the girls to be activists and to believe that they are important agents in society. She remarked that there is a huge gender discrepancy in the Maltese parliament. Worldwide, out of 193 leaders there are only 15 women. Women need to believe that they can be good at addressing decision making issues even on a national scale. H.R.H. The Countess of Wessex also underlined the need for more work to address gender stereotypes.
H.E. President Coleiro Preca pointed out the need for more women in high ranking positions in the police and armed forces of Malta. On the other hand, our University has many more female students compared to male. Our gender should not be a barrier. Both speakers mentioned that the real requisites are having a set of goals, keeping options open and grasping them bravely. They remarked that we should not be afraid of change but we need to fight the patriarchal culture we live in.
Women’s rights are human rights. The speakers mentioned that we need to learn to network and support each other and not be our own enemies. Media should also be on board to help cultivate and trigger cultural change. Dialogue, respect towards each other, determination and collaboration with many stakeholders are important assets in creating change.
Our students felt that this was a fruitful experience that enabled them to reflect on their potential as women. Listening to the professionals talking about their professions so passionately helped them to see what lies beneath their job designations. This activity helped them to realise that whilst they have the opportunity to gain education and prosper in their careers, other women are still being exploited and experience social injustice and discrimination. Students also gained knowledge about the essential tools to fight gender stereotypes and the requisites for creating cultural change. Pope Francis speaks of woman as harmony and beauty of the world. This was reinforced by the speakers too. Women must believe in their intellectual ability daily and seek ways to make their dreams come true. In doing so, we will continue celebrating the social, economic, political and cultural achievement of women.
Ms Nathalie Camilleri
Photo Credits: BPW (Valletta) Malta