A conference that manages to maintain a cosy and relaxed mood despite taking place in a rather formal setting, at San Anton Place. A conference with speakers spanning generations and languages. An inclusive space for mothers by offering a childminding service. An event where, for a change, men do not interrupt women, because it’s all about women after all. This was the atmosphere at ‘Empowered Women Unite – Malta’ on the 28th March.

The event focused on personal stories of women in different walks of life, with an emphasis on activism, resilience, entrepreneurial success and social impact. Opened by H.E. President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the event saw six speakers share how they got where they are, from Malta’s young activism star Sara Ezabe, a recent Forbes youth nominee, to the nomad beauty therapist Hilda Farrugia, who made her career travelling the world. Other speakers were life coach Angèle Cristina, social entrepreneur Sarah Cachia, activist Julia Navarro and trainer Maja Vähä.

Ireland-based coach Angele Cristina making her speech

“Throw caution to the wind,” Sarah Cachia, known for the ambitious social enterprise in Marsaskala, Jacob’s Brew, encapsulated her journey as she spoke to the audience. She co-founded a support group for families who have survived trauma, Survivors Malta, and manages meetings and projects for families side-by-side with her cafe business, a long-standing dream of her son Jacob. Seeing Jacob survive multiple life-threatening brain surgeries and regain his physical and social capacity against all odds is a continuous source of strength for her.

Julia Navarro started her speech with a provocative “What do you see when you look at me?” before she shared a story of fleeing and confronting domestic violence. Wanted for fleeing her husband at the time with their son, she was eventually cleared of charges and received custody of her children. “The worst misogynists are women,” she regretted the trend to judge persons based on their looks and social class, and calling the audience to stop judging women based on stereotypes.

The organisers, Angele Cristina and Sarah Suda, are promising more events like this, focused on sharing personal stories and supporting one another. “Knowledge shared is knowledge doubled,” said Hilda Farrugia as she concluded her speech on travelling the world with her dream team from different continents.