Cyprus Mail

Anger and despair over lack of interest in women’s rights

House President Yiannakis Omirou

The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) on Tuesday expressed “anger and despair” over the fact that MPs and political parties did not attend a conference on women’s rights to the level they said they would.

The conference, ‘Women’s rights and gender equality: Experiences and lessons from the Northern-European Model’, was held last week in Nicosia and was co-organised by the European Parliament Office in Cyprus and the House of Representatives in cooperation with the embassies of the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.

Despite the conference being co-organised by the House, MIGS said only one female deputy attended the event throughout while House speaker Yiannakis Omirou left right after he delivered his speech.

“Two or three other MPs came and went during the first part, “MIGS said, while in the second, where party leaders or their representatives presented their speeches, “they consumed 70 minutes to develop the current situation and the obstacles women currently experience without pitching a single suggestion for its reversal”.

The absence of MPs “from this fascinating conference, sent a clear message that there is no political will on their part to address the democratic deficit that we see today, with 50 per cent of the population being absent from decision-making, based on gender,” MIGS said.

“We did not hear a single practical measure envisaged by each party to enhance women’s participation.
“It is disappointing,” MIGS continues “and indicative of the way equal rights are being treated, the fact that for such an important issue relating to the 52 per cent of our country’s population, three political leaders did not take the time to attend, even to watch”.

MIGS thus, calls on all the leaders of political parties to announce three measures they intend to take as parties with a view to encouraging equal gender participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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