The Equality Mark Certification is awarded to companies that truly foster gender equality in their work policies and practices. This Certification awards equal opportunity employers who have in place initiatives that go over and above the minimum required by the law in the area of gender equality in employment and in the provision of goods and services.
The Equality Mark award aims to address challenges in the field of gender equality and employment in Malta, namely: the participation rate of women in employment, which although on the increase, is still relatively low and a gender-segregated labour market where a high percentage of women are employed in low-paid sectors. The Equality Mark promotes female participation in the labour market and career advancement for women. It was developed to empower more employers to enhance their commitment towards gender equality and implement good practices in this regard.
Employers and employees
Awarded companies can utilise the Equality Mark logo following an assessment on set criteria. During the certification process, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) ensures that the organisation:
- Implements equality principles in recruitment
- Issues gender inclusive documents and adverts
- Does not discriminate on the basis of gender in training opportunities offered to staff
- Strives to develop a discrimination and harassment-free workplace through implementing Equality and Sexual Harassment policies which include internal reporting procedures for cases of discrimination and sexual harassment
- Offers Family Friendly Measures such as telework, flexible hours and reduced hours
- Appoints an Equality Representative, or an Equality Committee, that gender mainstreams the company’s policies/practices and serves as a point of reference to employees who wish to discuss any issue related to gender equality
- Gives equal pay for work of equal value
- Applies equality standards in the provision of goods and services
Sources of funding
The Equality Mark is part of NCPE’s core work and is funded from NCPE’s budget.
Gender equality in employment and in the provision of goods and services; equal treatment in relation to family responsibilities; workplaces free from discrimination and sexual harassment.
Information about copyright
The logo of the Equality Mark can be utilised by awarded companies in all their correspondence and published material.
NCPE’s website and facebook page; brochures on the Equality Mark; NCPE’s newsletter; training and other seminars; articles on printed media; participation on television and radio programmes; adverts and material published by awarded companies with the Equality Mark logo
One challenge is to ensure that the commitments taken by the organisations are upheld following certification. To this end, the Equality Mark is valid for a two-year period, following which organisations can apply for re-certification. During the re-certification process NCPE provides training to the organisaton’s employees and reassesses the adherence to the criteria set.
Award Ceremonies for newly certified organisations are widely covered in media reports and companies with the Equality Mark often publish articles about their certification. Moreover, NCPE is regularly invited to conferences and seminars, both on a national and regional level, to present, promote and discuss the Equality Mark. The collection of feedback given by employees (anonymously) and employers is also integrated in the re-certification process. A report analysing findings is prepared on each equality-certified organisation.
Perception of the target audience
Employers and employees have a positive perception of the Equality Mark. Employers regularly contact NCPE showing their interest in the Equality Mark certification and almost all certified organisations confirm their interest in this campaign by applying for re-certification. Till May 2015, 60 organisations were certified with the Equality Mark, with more than 15,800 employees working in equality-certified conditions. This encompasses micro organisations as well as small, medium and big enterprises. Various certified organisations publicise their certification on local media.
The Equality Mark concept was developed as part of the EU co-funded project Unlocking the Female Potential, carried out between 2010 and 2012. Due to its successful uptake, the Equality Mark continued being promoted and awarded after the termination of this project. It is now part of NCPE’s core work. The Equality Mark enables NCPE to reach and assist organisations in their work on gender equality. This helps NCPE maintain direct contact with several employers and it increases its ability to raise awareness on equality issues among employees. In turn, the feedback NCPE gets from both employers and employees is useful in identifying the main equality-related challenges present in Malta and informs NCPE’s strategies and work.
The Equality Mark ensures that employers gender mainstream their work and that employees work in equality-certified conditions. More employers within private and public organisations are sensitised on gender equality, improving their capacity to safeguard equal treatment in practices and policies. On a national level, the Equality Mark helps the promotion of flexible working environments by demonstrating that the implementation of family friendly measures is workable and makes business sense.
Andre Callus, email@example.com