University of Malta – Msida, Malta

At the University of Malta there is a “Gender+Equity Plan” (G+EP) that aims to address any structural, cultural and/or situational barriers and to facilitate the participation of the diverse population by adopting an intersectional approach taking into consideration, but not limited to, gender, disability, race & ethnicity, religion and socio-economic backgrounds. Development of the plan was initiated by the academic staff of the University of Malta. The plan supports persons with disabilities, low-income students, first generation students, students/staff with refugee or migrant backgrounds, LGBTIQ students/staff, staff/students of colour. These equity groups were identified by the university’s internal policies.

In the last two years the following activities regarding equal access/inclusion/diversity were taken under the plan:

  • Support and counselling for students and university staff,
  • Lectures, workshops, seminars for students, faculty and non-teaching staff,
  • Improving physical accessibility,
  • Improving digital accessibility


The staff working on the plan’s implementation finds that support and counselling have the greatest impact because they are the most necessary to students and staff.

Additionally, the strategy development has been initiated. Recommendations and guidelines to counter exclusionary and discriminatory practices at the university have been developed. Outreach work has been done as well.

The latest service developed under the plan is the Office for an Equity Officer.

The academic staff of the University of Malta were driven by the idea of gender and social justice. Crucial factor that supported the university’s management to start the program was Horizon Europe stipulation. What makes this plan particularly successful is the fact that it looks at gender from an intersectional approach.
The Equity Committee (EQC) has the role of developing the University’s G+EP and creating activities regarding this plan at an intersectional level. The main pillars of inclusion will continue to function autonomously in accordance with their existing remit as established by the Senate and/or the Council. The University’s Equity Committee should be a Senate and Council entity. It is a body featuring the Chairs of Gender Equality & Sexual Diversity Committee, Access Disability Support Committee, Committee on Race & Ethnic Affairs, and the Junior College Diversity Committee or their representatives working together with the office for equity (EQO). It will also include representatives of the HRMD, the Office of the Academic Registrar, Marketing Communications and Alumni Office, Internal Audit and two student representatives each from KSU and Junior College. This Committee is a body which falls under the Pro-Rector responsible for Staff and Students. The Office for Equity (EQO) is the executive arm of the Equity Committee. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are explicitly mentioned both in the plan and in the university’s strategies, policies, work plans etc. The personal accountability for the implementation of the plan (the management of the programme) contributes most to decisions regarding program design and other activities.
UM has to follow: 1. UM Strategic Plan 2020- 2025 2. Act No. XXIV of 2016 – Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) (Amendment) Act 3. Act No XIX 1991 Chap 2 Section 45 4. Act No XXI 1993 Civil Code Cap 16 5. MPO Circular 13 1/6/94 6. MPO Circular 28/96 Act No XXI 1997 Art 14. Chapter 325 7. Legal Notice 427 2002 Part – Time Employees Regulations Page 4 of 11 8. Legal Notice 181 2008 Access to Goods and Services and their Supply (Equal Treatment) Regulations 9. Act No I 2003 Chap 456 Legal 10. Act No 85 2007 Equal Treatments of Persons Order 11. Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Circular No. 24/2000 ‘Gender Mainstreaming’ 12. Chapter 595 Public Administration Act 13. Constitution of Malta Chap 452
The major challenge that staff who initiated the plan faced was persuading decision makers at the university about its importance. Now, the main obstacle is that the whole plan depends on the integrity and motivation of the Equity Officer. Currently, all activities taken under the plan are financed from the university budget.
The programme indeed has a formal evaluation process in place. To gauge success, they utilize a gender audit conducted annually. Additionally, they analyze the University of Malta (UM) website and conduct interviews on specific areas, with the focus areas varying from year to year. The evaluation data is collected through several methods. They analyze data collected by the Registrar and Human Resources annually, conduct content analysis of the UM website, and carry out surveys and interviews on specific policies. The evaluation reports are disseminated to various stakeholders. Initially, they are shared with rectors and pro-rectors, presented at conferences and seminars, made available online, published in papers, and communicated through training sessions.

University of Malta

Msida, Malta