Pandemic pauses gender equality

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on gender equality, increasing inequality, injustice and discrimination against women across the EU, with Cyprus slightly improving on the Gender Equality Index.

The island ranked 21st on the EU’s Gender Equality Index, improved its overall rating from 56.3% to 56.9%, according to a statement by the Commissioner for Gender Equality Josephina Antoniou.

“Cyprus could not have remained unaffected by this pandemic without recording setbacks in equality.

“Measures introduced to stop the virus were quite successful in terms of health indicators. However, a more sensitive approach to gender issues was needed.”

In her 2020 report released Tuesday, the Commissioner notes that the pandemic outbreak found states unprepared for such a crisis.

“Social and economic consequences are exacerbating existing inequalities between men and women, threatening to reverse the progress made and push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line worldwide”.

Antoniou said the pandemic had affected vulnerable groups in many different ways: people with disabilities, victims of gender-based violence, single parents, migrant women, refugees, and the LGBT community.

The EU gender average rose to 67.9% from 67.4% in 2019.

“It will now take another 60 years to achieve full equality between men and women in the EU.”

Regarding Cyprus, the gender equality index rose from 56.3% in 2019 to 56.9%.

Cyprus ranks 21st in the EU in the Gender Equality Index. Its rating is 11 percentage points lower than the EU average.

Since 2010, Cyprus’ rating has increased just by 7.9 points, climbing six places.

The Commissioner noted that Cyprus is particularly lagging regarding women’s participation in decision-making positions and professional empowerment.

She said reconciliation of professional and family lives of women remain among the priorities and are key goals in the new National Action Plan for equality between men and women 2019-2023.

“We remain committed to eliminating all discrimination against women, doing away with gender stereotypes and social prejudices, the empowerment of women and promotion of the balanced participation of men and women in public and political life.

“Preventing and combating all forms of violence against women, especially trafficking in persons for sexual and labour exploitation, remain high on our priorities,” said Antoniou.