Helena Dalli

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Helena Dalli
Hearing with Helena Dalli (MT), candidate commissioner for equality (48832245446) (cropped).jpg
Dalli in 2019
European Commissioner for Equality
Assumed office
1 December 2019
PresidentUrsula von der Leyen
Preceded byVěra Jourová (Justice and Consumers)
Minister for European Affairs and Equality
In office
9 June 2017 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterJoseph Muscat
Preceded byLouis Grech
Succeeded byEdward Zammit Lewis
Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties
In office
13 March 2013 – 5 June 2017
Prime MinisterJoseph Muscat
Preceded byPosition established
Personal details
Born (1962-09-29) 29 September 1962 (age 57)
Political partyLabour Party
Other political
affiliations
Party of European Socialists
EducationUniversity of Nottingham
University of Malta

Helena Dalli (née Abela; born 29 September 1962) is a Maltese labour politician serving as European Commissioner for Equality since 1 December 2019.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Parliamentary Secretary[edit]

In 1996, Dalli was elected to the Parliament of Malta and appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Women's Rights in the Office of the Prime Minister. She was re-elected during the five subsequent elections, making her the second most elected woman in Maltese political history.[3]

During her two-year tenure, she put forwards a Childcare Bill to provide for regulations of childcare services both in the public and the private sector, and took care of the drafting of the Gender Equality Bill with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme.[4] Dalli also launched Malta's first white paper on domestic violence.[5]

Minister[edit]

During the 2013-2017 legislature, Dr Dalli was Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties. Under her direction, the Maltese Government introduced several laws and policies to strengthen the equality and human rights framework, including a Civil Unions Act as well as the widening of the anti-discrimination protections in the Maltese constitution to cover the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.[6][7][8]

In April 2015, she presented a law establishing wide-ranging rights for transgender and intersex people. The Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act provides for a right to gender identity and the recognition of one's self-determined gender on official documents, and recognises a right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy.[9]

During the same legislature, Dalli introduced a national maternity leave fund to which all employers contribute regardless of the gender of their employees, in order to protect women against discrimination during the recruitment process.[10]

Dalli submitting Malta's instrument of accession to OP-CEDAW at the UN Headquarters in March 2019

In 2015, Helena Dalli led the process for the establishment of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which the UN now commemorates annually on 11 February.[11][12] Dalli was also instrumental for the restructuring of the Malta Medicines Authority.

Dalli was re-elected from two districts in the 2017 general election. At the start of the new session, she presented to Parliament a Bill to introduce marriage equality (same-sex marriage).[13][14] Dalli's work in the equality sector led Malta to become the country affording the best legal protection and equality for LGBTIQ people. As a result, Malta has retained the top spot of the ILGA-Europe country index for four consecutive years.[15][16]

Call for a European Commission follow-up to the LGBTI List of Actions (December 2018)

During both terms as a Minister, Dalli worked to enhance Malta's human rights and equality structures and their independence, as well as dialogue with civil society and social partners.[17][18] In view of this, she set up a Human Rights and Equality Directorate that is responsible for Government policy on gender equality and gender mainstreaming, LGBTIQ equality, and migrant integration and anti-racism.[19] She also set up an LGBTIQ Consultative Council, a Consultative Council for Women's Rights and a Forum on Integration Affairs.[20][21][22] Following a long and multi-step consultation process, she presented an Equality Bill and a Human Rights and Equality Commission Bill that aim to instil the highest standards in terms of anti-discrimination and equality in all spheres of life, and the setting up of an independent national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles of the United Nations and European Union equality directives.[23][24]

Following the 2019 European elections, Dalli was nominated by the government of Prime Minister Muscat as Malta's candidate for the subsequent European Commission.[25]

Academia[edit]

Dalli holds a PhD in Political Sociology from the University of Nottingham,[26] and lectures in Economic and Political Sociology, Public Policy, and Sociology of Law at the University of Malta.[27]

Recognition[edit]

In 2016, Dalli was the first Maltese nominee and winner of the European Diversity Award for her work in human rights and equality at the local and international level.[28][29]

In 2019, Dalli was presented, on behalf of Malta, with the Diversa Internacional award by the Spanish Association of Lawyers and Lawyers against Hate Crimes, in recognition of her work for equality on both the domestic and international fronts.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Helena Dalli is married, and has two sons; Luke and Jean-Marc.[31]

Literature[edit]

  • Uwe Jens Rudolf: Historical Dictionary of Malta, 3rd edition, Rowman & Littlefield 2018, ISBN 978-1-5381-1917-4, page 75 (Online)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Malta nominates Helena Dalli as its next commissioner". Politico (24/7/19).
  2. ^ "Movers and Shakers - 26 July 2019". The Parliament Magazine (26/7/2019).
  3. ^ "Helena Dalli". Parliament of Malta.
  4. ^ "Parliament starts debating gender equality bill". The Times of Malta (5/11/2002).
  5. ^ "Inter-ministerial strategy needed to combat gender-based and domestic violence – Minister Dalli". The Malta Independent (7/11/2017).
  6. ^ Laws of Malta (April 2014), Civil Unions Act (ACT No. IX of 2014)
  7. ^ Laws of Malta (April 2014), Constitution of Malta(Amendment) Act (ACT No. X of 2014)
  8. ^ "Malta: Douze Points! First Constitution in Europe to Protect Gender Identity". Transgender Europe (15/4/14). Transgender Europe.
  9. ^ Henley, John. "Malta becomes first European country to ban 'gay cure' therapy". The Guardian (7/12/2016).
  10. ^ "Maternity leave fund set up to 'eliminate gender discrimination'". MaltaToday (21/7/2015).
  11. ^ "From Dream to Reality". International Day of Women and Girls in Science - February 11.
  12. ^ "Interview with Dr. Helena Dalli". International Day of Women and Girls in Science - February 11 (3/8/2019).
  13. ^ "Malta Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage". New York Times (12/07/2017).
  14. ^ "Malta's Parliament Approves Gay Marriage". Deutsche Welle (12/07/2017).
  15. ^ "Group ranks best and worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights". CNN (14/5/2019).
  16. ^ "The best and worst countries to be LGBT in Europe". Yahoo! News UK (2/7/2019).
  17. ^ "Towards a Robust Human Rights and Equality Framework". Ministry for European Affairs and Equality.
  18. ^ "Towards the Establishment of the Human Rights and Equality Commission: White Paper" (PDF). Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (10/12/2014).
  19. ^ "Domestic violence is a cancer on society, Helena Dalli says". MaltaToday (26/10/2018).
  20. ^ "LGBTIQ Consultative Council". Ministry for European Affairs and Equality.
  21. ^ "Consultative Council for Women's Rights". Ministry for European Affairs and Equality.
  22. ^ "Forum for Integration Affairs". Ministry for European Affairs and Equality.
  23. ^ Laws of Malta (July 2019), Equality Act (Bill 96 of 2019)
  24. ^ Laws of Malta (July 2019), The Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (Bill 97 of 2019)
  25. ^ "Malta nominates Helena Dalli as its next commissioner". Politico (24/07/2019). Politico Europe.
  26. ^ "Helena Dalli". European Commission. November 14, 2019.
  27. ^ "Visiting Staff". University of Malta.
  28. ^ "Helena Dalli wins Hero of the Year Award". Times of Malta (30/11/2016).
  29. ^ "European Diversity Awards Winners". Vercida (1/12/2016).
  30. ^ "Malta's leadership in promoting equality recognised by Spanish LGBTI association". MaltaToday (10/06/2019).
  31. ^ "Minister Helena Dalli is keeping it all in the family - The Malta Independent". www.independent.com.mt.

External links[edit]

Media related to Helena Dalli at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Karmenu Vella
Maltese European Commissioner
2019–
Incumbent