More Cypriot women than their EU counterparts say they were impacted financially and psychologically by the pandemic, according to an extraordinary Eurobarometer carried out ahead of Women’s Day 2022.

Citing data from the poll, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides, in a message to mark the day, said that the results of the barometer showed that while 77 per cent of women in the EU believe the pandemic led to an increase in physical and psychological violence against women in their country, in Cyprus, this reached 83 per cent.

In addition, Lottides said that in Cyprus 57 per cent of women surveyed said the pandemic had a negative impact on their income, while 54 per cent said their mental health had suffered due to the restrictive measures imposed by the government. At an EU level, the figure was round 40 per cent.

The extraordinary Eurobarometer was conducted by Ipsos between January 25 and February 2 this year in all 27 EU Member States and included a total of 26,741 interviews. In Cyprus, 531 people participated online.

Lottides said that International Women’s Day was established with the aim of rooting out the unequal relationship between men and women and reminding people that equality meant access to equal opportunities without discrimination on the basis of sex, protection from gender-based violence, sexism and prejudices. These were a daily goal of fundamental importance for democracies and modern societies, she said.

Although in 2014 the European Parliament adopted the directive on combating violence against women, “eight years later, as shown by the Eurobarometer, gender-based violence and especially domestic violence continues to increase in an environment that has worsened the situation,” said Lottides.

“Pandemic, lockdowns, work problems, family management and now war…,” she added.

Lottides said her office has remained at the forefront of the struggle for gender equality.

Indicative of this was information campaign conducted throughout 2021, entitled ‘Break the Silence, which encouraged women to report incidents of sexual harassment.

Also indicative, were two reports submitted in relation to gender discrimination against women volunteer NCOs, both in their tenure and in their professional development in the National Guard.

“Taking into account the impact that, according to the recent Eurobarometer, the pandemic seems to have had on the professional and personal life of women in Cyprus, our office will continue to push for the transformation of state structures and policies for the benefit of women, address the under-representation of women in political and economic decision-making bodies and hierarchies, and work to eliminate violence, harassment, gender stereotypes and sexism.”