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Cyprus

House begins debate on bills to criminalise sexism

The House human rights committee began debating two draft bills on Monday set to criminalise sexism, in the hopes of presenting a unified bill to parliament.

The first draft bill was submitted by main opposition Akel MP Skevi Koukouma, while the second was submitted by ruling Disy MP Annita Demetriou.

The proposal tabled by Koukouma seeks to enact legislation that combats public forms of sexism against women through the criminal justice system and by imposing fines.

The second seeks to criminalise sexism and sexist behaviour based on international conventions and recommendations, to deal with unacceptable issues that diminish, offend, isolate, and promote discrimination against women, based on perceptions of female inferiority.

Speaking after the meeting, Demetriou said they will attempt to make a common draft bill, as currently there are two proposals.

She added that legislation was necessary as the situation in Cyprus is unclear.

“The recommendation is that an authority should be created, which will oversee the situation and decide on strategies,” she said.

She added sexist actions can be whatever recycles stereotypes that incite violence or discrimination against women.

“We cannot only stand on words and definitions, we must look at the crux of the matter and stop everything that creates such actions,” she said.

On her part, Koukouma said the proposals were prepared and submitted based on increased incidents of sexism.

“Sexism displays the historically unequal power relations, between men and women, which leads to discrimination and inhibits the full social advancement of women,” she said.

She said the proposal they have submitted recommends certain fines to be imposed, ‘which would function more as educational than punitive.’

Koukouma echoed Demetriou on establishing a national authority to combat sexism, and on working to create one common piece of legislation to be voted on in parliament.

Commenting on examples of sexism, Koukouma said there have been too many incidents to describe, including some in parliament.

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