8 of March was International Women’s Day. I don’t think much of it, because I am anything but a feminist and because on the other hand I think the legitimate grievances by women (for example in Iran or Saudi Arabia) need more than one day’s attention.
But some organisations in Malta made a bad idea even worse. For International Women’s Day, these business and educational organisations in Malta had a fabulous idea. Quotes from the Times of Malta:
As part of International Women’s Day celebrations, a morning of pampering and beauty therapy was organised for women from the domestic violence shelters Dar Merħba Bik, Dar Qalb ta’ Ġesu’, Dar Tereża Spinelli and Aġenzija Appoġġ, as well as those receiving support from St Jeanne Antide Foundation and Prison Fellowship.
The event, organised by the HSBC Malta Foundation and MCAST Institute of Community Services in collaboration with Banking on Women (BoW) and HSBC Malta’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, treated the ladies to a variety of relaxation and beauty therapies, including facials, makeovers, haircuts and hairstyling.
These treatments were provided free of charge by students and lecturers from the MCAST Institute of Community Services, and gifts, donated by The Body Shop, were handed out. Similar services were offered to women who could not leave the shelters.
“International Women’s Day celebrates the importance and the achievements of all women in society. This Women’s Day activity reinforces this message while making the occasion a special one for women facing difficult life challenges.” said Catherine Gonzi, HSBC Malta Foundation chairperson, who attended the activity together with Sarah Watkinson, HSBC Malta Foundation Deputy Chairperson; Louise Stanton, British High Commissioner and HSBC Malta Foundation Director; and Simone Mizzi, Director of The Body Shop, Malta.
Yes, because a make-up or a new hairstyle is exactly what women who have been beaten, kicked, assaulted and raped need.
Prof Maurice Grech, MCAST Principal and CEO, thanked the HSBC Malta Foundation for collaborating with MCAST in this initiative.
Prof Grech is an engineer so I don’t expect him to be an expert on domestic violence. But surely he could also apply some common sense.
HSBC Malta’s CEO Mark Watkinson and his wife Sarah, who have recently been transferred to Malta, shared a personal account of their experiences as they have moved within the HSBC Group globally – both from a career perspective and from a family perspective.
Listening to the story of a banking executive will provide tremendous solace to women who are wondering what will happen to their children, their marriage, their families. I can virtually see their minds floating off to dividend taxation, return on investment and off-shore accounts. Maybe they will all sign a petition against the financial transaction tax at the end of the event.
Seriously?? Is this the best that Malta can do for victims of domestic violence?
How about concentrating on law enforcement, courts, social services? How about addressing the question why these women are in a shelter in the first place? How about enabling the victims of domestic violence to stay in their own homes while the perpetrators get kicked out of the house? (Like it is done in Germany, for example, with a rather effective law where eviction orders against the perpetrators are often issued by civil courts within one or two days, before law enforcement even gets cracking.) As a specialist for family law, I have a bit of experience with domestic violence, and none of my many clients has ever told me she is worried about her nail polish.