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Cyprus

Gender equality watchdog wants answers to ‘humiliating’ urinal

The Gender Equality Commission on Monday asked to be informed immediately by the European Union’s Structural Funds Directorate in Cyprus as to how a nude female-shaped urinal was classed as an innovative product and why such an item was financed by both Cyprus and the EU.

As the body responsible for promoting gender equality and the elimination of stereotypes and social prejudices against women, the commission demanded more information regarding the funding and endorsing of the product.

In a statement it said: “It is not possible for this product, which humiliates female dignity, to be advertised as innovative. We expect to be officially informed by the responsible body.”

The commission described the product as an insult because it “restores and reproduces stereotypes, prejudices and obsolete perceptions about women at the same time when the state is spending money towards promoting gender equality and eliminating these prejudices”.

The urinal, called ‘Body Jane the Men’s Jar’, received funding from EU structural funds, specifically the European regional development fund, as well as from of the Republic of Cyprus, as indicated by logos on the product’s website, www.bodyjane.com.

Dialogos spoke on Monday to the manager of the company producing the urinal, Eleni Loukaidou, who in addition to being the mother of the product’s designer, Doros Loukaides, is also the former deputy mayor of Nicosia and current municipal councillor, connected to ruling party Disy. Loukaidou is also president of the European affairs committee of the Nicosia municipality.

“The issue has been blown out of proportion, but I’ll speak in the end and many will be exposed,” Loukaidou told Dialogos on Monday. She added that accusations regarding sexism on her part are baseless, as she has in the past fought for gender equality in Cyprus.

The urinal comes in the shape of a headless naked woman, while the design is such that its male owner urinates into a hole at the neck of the female figure.

On Friday, the women’s wing of left Akel, Pogo, called on the equality commissioner to intervene and demand an explanation regarding the product, while they have also requested that the house committee on human rights and equal opportunities between men and women examine the conditions under which the product was approved and financed by Cyprus.

Pogo had slammed the product as a sexist, vulgar commercialisation of the female body.

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