By Constantinos Psillides
APPOINTING more women in key positions in the government is great news but more needs to be done, according to Susan Pavlou, head of the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS).
“We are especially delighted for the appointment of Chrystalla Georghadji as the head of the Central Bank, the only woman in that position in the EU. That is wonderful news for us, because it shows for the first time that women are able to tackle hard politics and deal with critical issues, like in this case the economy,” Pavlou the Cyprus Mail.
She said that appointing women into key positions at last has deviated away from the norm, in which women are only allowed to deal with “soft issues” such as health, environment and education.
“Women can significantly contribute to all sectors of public life and we are happy to see that the government recognises that,” she said.
The head of MIGS though was not pleased with the fact that the president didn’t appoint more women to his cabinet. “We are disappointed that there is still only one [woman] minister because we were hoping for more from the government,” she said.
The only woman minister currently in the cabinet is Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou.
President Nicos Anastasiades drew heavy criticism last year, when he appointed no women in the cabinet after he came to power. Emilianidou was only appointed after Harris Georgiades was moved from labour to finance following the resignation of Michalis Sarris in the wake of the bailout crisis.
Following the cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, Anastasiades filled a number of vacant government positions, appointing mostly women. Besides appointing Chrystalla Georghadji who was the auditor-general, to the CBC, Anastasiades also appointed Irena Georgiades as the Commissioner for Public Service Reform, Dr Toulla Onoufriou as the head of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company, Elena Vassiliadou as the new chief at the National Gas Public Company DEFA, Penelope Athinodorou Mantis as the chairwoman of the State Fairs Authority and Iosifina Antoniou as the Commissioner for Gender Equality.
This is a new post required under the EU acquis.
But MIGS criticised the government saying the creation of the post was decided behind closed doors, without first consulting NGOs or civic society in general.
In an open letter to the president and the justice minister, MIGS asks the government to inform the public on what the commissioner’s mandate is exactly, and what budget has been allocated for the role.
“I want to make clear that we are not criticising the person appointed. Our issue is with the post itself and how it will effectively help resolve gender inequality problems,” said the head of MIGS. She added however that the appointment itself showed that the government had the political will to fight gender inequality.
DISY deputy spokeswoman Stavriana Kofteros said that increasing the participation of women in government posts was a step in the right direction, “proving that progress is being made and there is a will to implement an equality policy”.
EDEK MP Roula Mavronicola also expressed her delight, but also the president should have appointed more women to the cabinet.
“The brilliant resumés of the women appointed show that women can think and are able to participate in decision making centres,” she said.
The statement was a joke aimed at Anastasiades, who jokingly said last year that “it seems that not only men think but there are women that think too”.