Gender equality commissioner Josie Christooulou on Thursday praised the Strovolos municipality for the progress it has made to boost gender equality of late.

She explained that her office had prepared an annual action plan for gender equality for municipalities across the island, and said that Strovolos had already completed four of the five actions set out in the plan.

Three of those actions, she said, pertain to facilities at the town hall and municipal theatre, and include a breastfeeding and pumping room for new mothers, parking spaces for families with pushchairs, and baby changing facilities in both the male and female bathrooms.

Such actions are not only symbolic but help to establish a culture of equality between women and men,” she said.

She added that the fourth action completed by the Strovolos municipality concerns training offered to municipal workers on matters of equality between women and men, and support offered to take into account the dimension of gender when planning policies.

Speaking about the success seen so far in this regard, Strovolos mayor Andreas Papacharalambous said, “we are standing by the side of young families, and this can be seen from all of our actions.”

He made a point of emphasising that the breastfeeding and pumping room is accessible to new mothers who both work for the municipality and are visiting the building for another reason.

In addition, he said, the room “has a chair specialised for breastfeeding, a baby changing table, refrigerators for storing breast milk, and a breast milk pumping machine.”

Regarding the training of municipal staff, he said his “ultimate goal” is “to change attitudes and promote a more inclusive and more humane treatment of all our fellow human beings step by step.”

Equality, as well as a right, is also a matter of common logic and empathy,” he added, saying that he hopes his municipality can “set an example that others can follow”.

His words were echoed by those of Christodoulou, who said gender equality “is one of the government’s priorities, and we have already taken a series of actions and policies which promote gender equality”.

Gender equality is an issue which affects our daily lives, and in this context, our office cooperates with all authorities and at all levels,” she added.