Stereotypical perceptions and opinions about the sexes are responsible for unequal treatment and substantial and targeted education is necessary to deal with the situation, House president Annita Demetriou said on Friday, addressing the conference ‘Gender and Education: Theories, Policies, and Practices’.
The conference being held at the Filoxenia Conference Centre was organised by parliament and the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute. In written comments about the conference, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said that schools can and need to be a catalyst for change of these perceptions.
Demetriou said: “An educational environment free from stereotypes can lay a solid foundation so that children can grow up freely and cultivate their interests and talents.”
She added that parliament has placed among its priorities the promotion of gender equality on its agenda, with a goal of collaborating with competent bodies, such as the Pedagogical Institute.
“Despite the strong legislative framework that has been established in Cyprus, our country continues to face special challenges in the issue of gender equality,” she added.
She said that positions in the decision-making are predominantly male-dominated, and women are underrepresented in all three forms of power, executive, legislative, and judicial, as well as in political parties.
“Their participation in the labour market is still not equal, the wage and pension gap continue to exist, while the unemployment and poverty rates of women are historically higher,” she said.
Sexism is not the only issue women face in gender inequality, Demetriou said, adding that women deal with issues such femicide, rape, and sexual harassment, which affect women in Cyprus and all over the world.
To deal with the issues, she added, education is needed that embeds the philosophy and practices of gender equality.
In a statement ready out by the deputy director of the Pedagogical Institute Elena Hadjikakou, Prodromou said that gender equality is a core European Union value.
“For this reason, a gender equality strategy for the period 2020-2025 has been developed in order to create a Europe that ensures gender equality, where gender-based violence, gender-based discrimination and structural inequality between women and of men will be a thing of the past,” he said.
Following the introductions, opinions on issues of education and gender in Cyprus, policies and practices were exchanged MPs and experts, in a roundtable discussion, in the context of the conference.
The MP of Diko and Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture, Chrysanthos Savvides, the MP of AKEL and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture, Christos Christofias, the MP of DISY and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities, Rita Theodorou Superman, the Commissioner for Gender Equality, Iosifina Antoniou, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Culture, Dr Athena Michailidou, and the Director of the Mediterranean Institute for Social Gender Studies, Suzana Pavlou, all participated in the debate, which was moderated by journalist Tonia Stavrinou.