Discrimination against women and the lack of policy that supports motherhood, as well as violence against women and trafficking are some of the biggest hurdles that need to be tackled if gender equality can truly manifest, Akel said on Wednesday, marking International Women’s Day.

Sexist stereotypes in the media and education, as well as the lack of participation of women in public life are “realities deeply embedded in Cypriot society,” it added.

“There needs to be an end to the philosophy that the Anastasiades government followed where gender equality and women are concerned – particularly working women.”

Those policies led to “Cyprus taking disappointing steps backwards.”

The party said it expected the Christodoulides government to take concrete steps for the country “though we observe his failure to achieve equal gender representation in the cabinet.”

For the left, the fight for gender equality is not a fight against men and women. “It is a fight against patriarchal structures, sexist attitudes and an economic system that reproduces inequalities, injustices and oppression both socially and on the basis of gender.”

Meanwhile, statistics released by Eurostat on Tuesday revealed Cyprus is sixth in the bloc when it comes to the overall gender gap, both when it comes to cities as well as when it comes to rural areas, with both percentages being above six per cent.

However, the difference between urban and rural areas is relatively small, with urban areas being slightly higher.

The gender gap is defined as the difference between male and female incomes as a percentage of male incomes.

The EU gender gap for median equivalised net income was close to five per cent during the last decade.

In November the commissioner for gender equality, said 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.

Data published by the European Institute for Gender Equality in October showed Cyprus still has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality, especially when it comes to women’s presence in decision-making positions. The gender equality index rose to a mere 57.3 per cent in 2022 from 57 per cent in 2021.