Cyprus Mail

Spotlight on Palestinian women at Peo and Pogo event

Εκδήλωση ΠΕΟ ΠΟΓΟ για την Παγκόσμια Ημέρα της Γυναίκας
Peo and Pogo event marking International Women's Day

Peo and Pogo turned their attention on the plight of Palestinian women in war-torn Gaza during the event marking the International women’s day in Nicosia on Friday.

The rebellion of New York’s female workers on March 8, 1967 was commemorated by the trade union Peo and the women’s organisation Pogo in an event held at Eleftheria Square.

The gathering served as a platform to express support and solidarity with women’s struggles worldwide, particularly with the Palestinian women.

“Today, as we commemorate March 8th, we cannot help but turn with respect and solidarity to the women of Palestine, who are experiencing unprecedented genocide inflicted upon their people by Israel,” said Peo Secretary-General Soteroulla Charalambous in her speech. The event was attended by POGO Secretary-General Stefanos Stefanou, party representatives, and the Mayor of Nicosia, Konstantinos Yorkadjis.

Charalambous emphasised that once again, Peo and Pogo stand united to remember the pioneers, struggles, and legacies of women, expressing support, solidarity, and camaraderie with women’s struggles worldwide to pave the way for continued progress and advocacy for full equality in life, work, and society.

“167 years after the uprising of New York’s female workers, and despite the progress made, women still experience economic and social inequalities, fall victim to violence and sexism, and encounter obstacles in exercising their democratic rights,” she said.

Referring to the gender equality index in Cyprus, Charalambous noted that the country ranks 21st out of 26 EU countries in the index. She highlighted concerning statistics, such as one in six women being forced to return to work before the end of maternity leave due to economic reasons, and the majority of parents, predominantly women, interrupting their work to care for children, leading to low pensions at the end of their working lives.

While acknowledging positive steps, such as the extension of maternity leave to 22 weeks and the coverage of self-employed individuals with paid parental leave, Charalambous stressed the need for more comprehensive and bold measures to effectively address the undervaluation of women’s work and serious deficiencies in social policy.

Pogo Secretary-General Skevi Koukouma also addressed the conflict in Gaza and the loss of human lives, noting that 70 per cent of the casualties are women and children. She referenced the statement by the UN Secretary-General that it would take 300 years to achieve equality, emphasizing that without organized struggles and collective efforts, equality may never be attained, not even in 300 years.

Representatives of the Organisation of Palestinian Women Living in Cyprus also spoke at the event, greeting all women in Cyprus on the occasion of International Women’s Day. They highlighted the hardships faced by Palestinian women, emphasising their determination to remain on their land as an example of resilience.

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