Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said he is striving to put more women in decision-making centres after protests demanding gender equality.
Hundreds of Women across the island staged a one-hour strike outside their workplaces on Friday calling for equal rights in an initiative called “The Time Is Now”.
Protesters called for an end to violence against women, equality in decision-making centres, zero tolerance to sexism, discrimination and gender stereotypes.
In a statement, President Anastasiades expressed “the admiration, the appreciation but also the gratitude of the state for women’s contribution to social, political and cultural activities.”
President Anastasiades gave examples of the recognition by the government of the importance of women, pointing out that two women, the Minister of Labour and the Deputy Minister of Shipping, are members of the Cabinet.
Critics have pointed out that he has only one female minister – down from two in the last administration – out of 11 cabinet ministers while deputy minister is only a junior post.
Anastasiades, in defending his record, said the government named a woman for the role of European Commissioner, that over half of his commissioners are women, 34% of semi-government organisations’ presidents are women while 36% of their directors are also women.
“It is my intention to continue the effort to have an even greater number of women in the various decision-making centres on the basis of their abilities.”
He said Cyprus ranked 5th in 2017 in the EU on the gender pay-gap with 13.5% difference while the EU average was 17%.
“As equal partners, we will continue to make sure that the state’s policies contribute to substantial equality between men and women.”