Women’s organisations from across the political spectrum climbed aboard the ‘Bus of Equality’ on Tuesday to press their case with the government and House of Representatives.
The initiative, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, saw representatives from the women’s branches of political parties and trade unions, as well as other NGOs taking part.
The bus set off from the headquarters of the civil servants’ union Pasydy, stopping off to hand over a joint resolution to the president, the president of the House, the leaders of parliamentary parties except Elam, the commissioner for equality and a representative of the justice ministry. Representatives also delivered the petition to mayors of other towns.
In their petition, the organisers said the struggle continues to end social injustice, family violence, human trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual stereotype thinking about women and their role in society.
Women are also pressing on with their efforts to safeguard their right to make decisions about their bodies, take the place they deserve in decision-making centres and determine, jointly with men, the present and future of Cyprus.
The organisations want to see the establishment of an equality authority that will bring together disparate institutions and have executive power. They also want the gender dimension to be incorporated in all government policies and in the drawing up of the state budget and the effective implementation of the law on equal pay.
Other demands include action to combat inequality in pay, extension of maternity leave and improvements to the law on paternal leave. They say infrastructure must be created to care for children and the elderly.
This must support working families, be accessible and cover all the needs of the modern family. Local authorities must be supported to create such social facilities and subsidies offered to cover costs of care for young children and infants, they said.
They also want a new national action plan to address violence against women, additional shelters for women victims, action against trafficking and family violence and better health care at public hospitals, especially the gynecological departments.
During the handing over of the petition, House president Annita Demetriou said a long way still remained for equality, noting that it was important for women to be involved in decision making.