Cyprus long way from closing gender gap

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Cyprus has 27% of women in management-level positions – one of the lowest rates in the EU and ranks 22 in the EU on the Gender Equality Index, House Speaker Annita Demetrious told the Mediterranean Symposium.

Demetriou said gender inequalities are strongly pronounced in the domain of power, and Cyprus has a long way to go to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation in decision-making structures and leadership.

She said women’s empowerment is close to her heart as the first female President of the House of Representatives.

Demetriou has championed gender equality, gender-balanced representation in decision-making structures and gender mainstreaming in legislation.

The politician argued that Cypriot women shoulder much more care responsibilities and unpaid work than men and have limited access to leadership networks.

“The investment of €20.5 mln in the framework of the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan on supporting early childhood education and creating a network of childcare facilities is a positive step forward as it will foster full-time labour market participation of carers, notably women.

“Cypriot women encounter multiple constraints and are deprived of equal opportunities in assuming leadership roles because of persistent gender stereotypes and cultural bias and are often perceived as ill-equipped for assuming leadership positions.

“We must focus on overcoming the challenges that hold women and girls back.

“We must step up our efforts to eliminate the gender pay and pension gaps (9% and 39%, respectively), the gender segregation in education, training, and employment and female underrepresentation in the fields of ICTs and STEM”.

Demetriou also noted that it is imperative to transform the male-dominated leadership narrative to inspire change and encourage more women representation in decision-making and leadership.

“Working closely together in solidarity and unity, we can strive for a better, more sustainable, equitable and promising future for present and future generations”.