Cyprus ranks 22nd among EU member-states when it comes to gender equality, and 106th out of 146 countries worldwide, making it imperative to accelerate its promotion across the board, gender equality commissioner Josie Christodoulou said on Tuesday.
She was speaking at a public consultation on the drafting of a new national strategy for gender equality held at the presidential palace.
It is no coincidence that the UN Secretary-General talks about regression regarding gender equality, the commissioner said. “According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (2020), at the current rate it will take more than 60 years for equality in the EU, while globally it will take 300 years”.
She said that the goal of the new strategy is to make gender equality the norm, by making gender an important dimension in all ministries and deputy ministries.
“We have the opportunity, but also the responsibility, to accelerate efforts to promote gender equality,” she stressed, pointing out that the promotion of equality between women and men is one of the horizontal priorities of the president’s governance plan.
Gender equality means that the needs and human rights of both women and men, as well as their responsibilities, should be considered equal, with their differences playing a part in designing legislation, policies and measures, Christodoulou said, adding that at the same time, both genders should participate equally in the decision-making process, away from gender-based stereotypes and prejudices.
The aim is, through a holistic approach, to promote women’s active participation in society, creating an inclusive political, economic and social framework, and an environment that is friendly and welcoming for women and men.
At the same time, the commissioner said that the equal distribution of responsibilities regarding the care economy, the active participation of women in the labour market and in decision-making positions, and the strengthening and creation of new structures to help parents are being promoted.
“Our mission is complex and certainly not easy,” she finally said. “Changing the public mindset requires persistence and a strategic effort, which we are all making together”.
On behalf of the finance ministry’s general directorate of development, Socrates Melis said that he will coordinate the drafting of the national strategic policy document for gender equality.
The document is expected to be completed and submitted to the competent services of the European Commission by the end of the year.