Mediterranean models of Welfare towards families and women
After tracing a Malta’s short historical excursus with its effects on female condition, family’s structure and concept, organizational model of non profit sector, the paper gives a survey of the most recent economic and demographic trends with special attention to families’ well-being and women’s working and social conditions, based not only on statistical data of Malta’s National Institute of Statistics and of Eurostat, but also on the results of some empirical studies based on some surveys carried out into the archipelago. The main islands’ social problems are outlined with the indication of the principal sources of aid to face peoples’ different needs (first of all family, followed by the State, while the Third Sector, with its strong component of foundations, heritage of English culture, is not pre-eminent yet). The paper also shows that the same citizens’ expectations of satisfaction of social needs are still mainly placed in the State, according to the collective image. After drawing this scenario, the paper makes a short history of Malta’s Welfare State specially considering legislation concerning families and women. In addition to the description of the legislative measures, a deeper investigation is also devoted to other programs realized at european and national level: Equal Program (2004-2006) and Malta’s latest “Action Plan”, alias the National Social Plan in its general lines of policy towards families and women. Besides the illustration of the services provided to families by the Ministry of Family and Social Solidarity in the context of the National Action Plan, three other articulations of the Plan are briefly examined: Gender Equity National Action Plan (2003-2004), National Action Plan on Poverty and Social Exclusion (2004-2006), National Action Plan for Employment (2004). The correlative institutional framework is also reviewed: the National Family Commission established in 2001 and the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women considered by the “Equality for Men and Women Act” of 2003. Finally the paper classifies Malta’s Welfare State among the Mediterranean models of social assistance for its specific characteristics though, differently from the evolutive tendencies of these last ones, the passage from Welfare State to Welfare Mix is still problematic and slow in Malta. In spite of the increasing forms of collaboration between public and non profit organizations, Malta’s Third Sector has still a too weak role, in comparison with family and State, in supporting people’s life on both factual and symbolic dimension. In this missing transition, specially as regards elderly care, Malta can not see yet the growth, inside Welfare Mix, of the more informal components formed by immigrated women to detriment of the services offered by private or non profit organizations (“care drain” phenomenon), which is very strongly in course in other Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain, Greece).
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