The pay gap between men and women in Cyprus is 9 per cent, meaning that women on the island earn 91 cents for every euro earned by men, Commissioner for Gender Equality Iosifina Antoniou said on Tuesday.

Her statements were delivered during this year’s EU Equal Pay Day, a symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap marked around the bloc on November 15.

Antoniou said women in the EU still earn less than men for the same job.

“For every euro earned by men, women earn 87 cents. That practically means that women in the EU work for free during the last two months of the year,” she said.

“Despite the fact that women’s position in social and professional life has improved and even though the participation rate of women in the labour market has increased significantly, the pay gap remains unchanged.”

Antoniou stressed that there are still many obstacles for women.

“The multiple roles fulfilled by women in our society, such as the responsibility of looking after family, children and elderly parents, often result in part-time work in lower paid sectors, effectively creating a glass ceiling for them, which slows down the pay gap change,” Antoniou continued.

She added that in the action plan for gender equality 2019-2023 mainly strives towards women’s professional empowerment and a better balance between work and family hours.

“At the same time, we are combating sexual harassment in the workplace, while strengthening our ability to better address the problems faced by women in the workplace. We are also promoting women’s entrepreneurship.”

Finally, Antoniou said that to bridge the gap in pay between men and women, society needs a collective and effective cooperation among stakeholders and further measures, policies and support structures to give women equal opportunities in their professional lives.