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Sports culture in Cyprus ‘inhospitable towards female athletes’

ΚΟΠΑ Πανεπιστημιακό πρωτάθλημα Φούτσαλ Γυναικών
Women's Futsal (CNA)

Gender Equality Commissioner Josie Christodoulou on Tuesday expressed her disappointment at the “inhospitable nature of sports culture towards female athletes.”

In a statement, she said that recently her attention was drawn to the issue of changing-room facilities at sporting venues, specifically the use of transparent doors at the Yermasoyia stadium, which violate the privacy of both female and male athletes.

Highlighting the significance of creating a welcoming environment for both genders, especially as far as changing rooms are concerned, the statement said that respect for privacy and dignity was crucial for all athletes.

“The recent exposure of these issues reflects poorly on the sports community, signalling an inadequate environment for promoting women’s sports,” Christodoulou said.

She then called upon relevant authorities, including the Cyprus Sports Organisation (CSO) and associated federations, to uphold the equality principles outlined in the Cyprus Sports Law and to implement protective measures for all involved in sports.

“Efforts should be directed towards establishing female-friendly facilities, including changing rooms and hygiene areas, to encourage greater participation of female athletes in sports,” the statement continued.

Furthermore, it said that the Gender Equality office conducted an assessment regarding the visibility of women’s sports in the print media.

According to the result of the assessment, on most days there was minimal or no representation of women’s sports in both images and articles, indicating their invisibility in the media.

Recognising the pivotal role of the media in shaping a culture of gender equality, the office urged media outlets to equally and fairly represent women’s sports, setting examples for young girls.

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