Hundreds of women from both sides of the divide and setting off from two different starting points, north and south, marched to the Nicosia buffer zone in a peace march on Wednesday.
The bi-communal event was organised by around 40 organisations and groups to mark international women’s day.
Greek and Turkish Cypriot women, who met at the Ledra Palace in the buffer zone, held banners saying “Peace in Cyprus cannot be prevented” and were chanting in Greek and Turkish that it was time for peace ‘Hadi Baris – Ante Irini”.
At the buffer zone, women formed a large dancing circle where they danced to traditional Cypriot sings.
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot actors reading poems, and staging an interactive play on the two communities getting together also participated.
On the occasion of March 8, a joint declaration was read out focusing on the UN Security Council’s resolution 1325, which “reaffirms that peace cannot be maintained without the participation of women in decision-making processes”.
It added that women’s organisations are ready to contribute to the discussion on how gender equality can be enhanced through the structures and policies of a united federal Cyprus.
Women from both sides of the divide, it said, experience labour exploitation, violence in the family and workplace, socially enforced heterosexuality and hate crimes.
“It is of paramount importance to raise our voices against all these,” it said.
They also urged the two leaders to remain focused on the negotiation process and to resist “the destructive rhetoric of forces that promote dichotomous thinking and actions, hindering the peace process”.