Pedestrian crossing lights with depictions of women in green and red will be installed before the start of the new year, the House human rights committee heard on Monday, where the national strategy on gender was discussed.

Final approval from an EU support mechanism is expected next month to formulate the gender budget of €470,000.

In particular, on behalf of the transport ministry, their representative told the committee that before 2025, female (and possibly children’s) figures will also be placed on crossing signals as part of the strategy.

In addition, it was clarified that the new bus stops would ensure that there would be plenty of light at waiting areas for safety.

On behalf of the finance ministry, the representative said that the most important of the six actions in their portfolio was gender mainstreaming in their state policies in the form of gender budgeting.

“We submitted a request last October through the directorate general of the European Commission to be given support. We have already received pre-approval and a final response is expected next March,” the representative said, adding that based on EU calculations the amount will amount to €470,000. The programme will last for 30 months and is expected to start in June 2024 and end in 2026.

Also attending the meeting, the representative from the labour ministry said that there are five actions to run, including increasing the length of maternity leave from 18 to 22 weeks. “The amendment bill has been formulated, which we will discuss in February,” the representative said.

However, this issue has generated opposition with the head of the committee Akel MP, Irene Charalambides stressing that parental leave should be given so that parents can choose whether it is the mother or father who stays at home.

For her part, Gender Equality Commissioner Josie Christodoulou said that they aim to tackle stereotypes, underlining that one of the main actions is the gender budget.

The National Strategy, she said, was formulated following a dialogue with society, scientists, businesspeople, and other stakeholders on the basis of both European and international legislation. The aim is to mainstream gender mainstreaming and for this purpose each Ministry/Deputy Ministry has appointed an official as an equality officer so that all decisions taken by the executive have an equal impact on men and women.