The courage to take a leap into the unknown – and a shift in mentality – is central, maintains Dr Elizabeth Gaerty, a founding member of EG Legal, a Maltese boutique law firm specialising in legal and consultancy services for businesses on the island.
She notes how “women tend to have a more cautious approach to anything, which is a good thing in life but, in business, can put one at a disadvantage.”
Moreover, she believes that while “quotas and equality campaigns have helped get women out there, it all boils down to how one approaches life and the determination to make it in this world.”
While she sees quotas for women on boards as an advantage, since “they get the ball rolling” she doesn’t see it working in the long run, insisting it “cannot be the end game since established quotas go against the principle of equal opportunity.”
She continues that “equal opportunity shouldn’t be interpreted as imposed equal outcome.” Indeed, she sees such policy to be counterproductive in the long-term, since it increases – rather than offsets – discrimination to both men and women.
“It should just be equal in opportunity, and men should not be discriminated against because of their gender either, so I don’t think quotas are the best solution. They may be useful but it’s not straightforward.”
With regards board appointments, Dr Gaerty sees board diversification as a broader concept, inclusive to, but not limited by gender, since “in every business, what each person can bring to the table is different.”
Hence, rather than putting it to gender, it would be useful to challenge the status quo and welcome people of different backgrounds and mentalities to the top table, she says. In her view, things are already on the up and up for women in business on the island, with 2019 seeing much progress in this regard.
“Locally, I think there are some great businesswomen who are making a name for themselves, and maybe they need to be showcased more. The pace of inclusion is steady, and women are more empowered and encouraged to do their own thing,” she underlines, concluding in positive terms by saying that, ultimately, “the future of anyone will be as bright as one makes it for oneself.”
This is an extract from an interview which initially featured in the September edition of the Commercial Courier. Those featured in the original interview are being presented on this portal as part of a mini-series on women in business.