The Government attaches great importance to the issues of promoting equality between men and women and focuses its efforts on the formulation and implementation of horizontal equality policies, said the President of the Republic Nikos Anastasiadis, in his greeting on Tuesday afternoon at the General Electoral Assembly of the Cyprus Federation. Business Professionals (KOGEE), in Nicosia.
In his greeting, which was read by the Minister of Justice and Public Order Stefi Drakou, President Anastasiadis expressed the belief that the dynamism that distinguishes women allows them to successfully serve the multiple roles and responsibilities they undertake.
“The achievements and the generally successful activation of women in private and public life, imposed the respect, recognition and utilization of their abilities”, she stated and added that “it is this respect that consciously led me in the formation of my Government and of the first but especially of the second, to utilize in key positions and positions of responsibility a significant number of women, greater than any other time since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus “.
He also said that today 50% of the Commissioners of the Republic are women, while at the same time the presence of women in the Boards of Directors of the semi-governmental organizations has significantly increased since they now exceed 35%.
He noted that the Council of Ministers consists of five renowned women, while for the first time a young woman has been elected Speaker of Parliament.
Making a brief report on how much the Government has achieved in terms of work and especially the reduction of the pay gap, the President of the Republic said that according to the latest and revised data of the Statistical Service for 2019, the pay gap is at 10 , 1%, compared to 14.1% which is the EU average.
He added that “this positive development ranks Cyprus in the 7th best position among the Member States with a significant increase in recent years, after we achieved a significant reduction of the gap, from 15.6% in 2012 when we took power, to 10.1% ».
He also stated that the National Action Plan for Equality between Men and Women 2019-2023, which was prepared after research and study by the current Government, places special emphasis on the deconstruction of stereotypes and sexism in conjunction with the coupling of family and professional obligations.
He also said that from 2017 until today, the current Government has increased the sponsorships given to women’s organizations in order to organize actions in this direction, by 52%.
Regarding the legislative field, labor legislation, the President of the Republic said that important legislations have been passed, which strengthen the role of women in the sphere of family, work and society in general, and at the same time, important legislations have been drafted in the field preventing and combating gender-based violence, which strengthen the existing network of protection for women victims of violence and abuse.
“The current government, through its policies and actions, sends the message of showing zero tolerance for sexist and similar behaviors that affect and degrade women’s status,” she said.
That is why the Council of Ministers, as he said, “very recently decided to set up the National Coordinating Body for the Istanbul Convention, under which substantial actions are expected to be promoted for effective prevention and treatment of violence against women.”
These laws, according to President Anastasiadis, are complemented by a wide range of policies and programs related to the reconciliation between family and professional obligations, the training and reintegration of women into the labor market and the strengthening of women’s entrepreneurship.
Besides, the President of KEVE Christodoulos Agastiniotis said that the firm belief of KEVE is that women entrepreneurship contributes the most to growth, innovation and the creation of new jobs.
“Over the years, women have proven that they can meet and manage different and complex roles such as, in addition to mother and husband being an employee, holding important positions, but also a successful entrepreneur and professional,” she said.
He stated that the CCCI in cooperation with KOGEE systematically supports and promotes women’s entrepreneurship in various ways, as the European Union itself does.
The practical proof of the importance that the CCCI attaches to the issues of women entrepreneurship and the participation of women entrepreneurs in decision-making centers is the fact, according to Mr. Agastiniotis, that “officials of KOGEE and each local OGEE participate in the Administrative Boards of the CCCI and the Local Chambers, thus contributing to the shaping of the positions and the policy of the Chambers “, while at the same time two CCCI executives hold positions in the council of the KOGEE and the local Organizations.
He added, however, that despite the significant progress that has been made in recent years, there are still prejudices and stereotypes about the role of women as well as inequality in pay.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has made the role of women more difficult and now more than ever, the institutions and the state must work closely to combat them as this will have very beneficial effects on both the local economy and society at large.” he said.
Finally, the President of the CCCI assured that the Chamber will continue its close cooperation with KOGEE and “declares its readiness to support any new initiative and action.”
OEB President Antonis Antoniou referred to three challenges that both in Cyprus and in the rest of Europe are the recognition of women as equal entrepreneurs, which are those of equal treatment and recognition in the workplace, promotion to senior management and recognition and appreciation as capable of creating and succeeding in all kinds of start-ups or new companies.
“We have achieved a lot and we have made significant progress, but there is a long way to go, especially in the position of women in senior management positions, where we have to admit that we are lagging behind and there is still work to be done,” she said.
He also said that if one reviews the most private companies, organizations and Associations in the place, “it will be difficult for more than 10% of women Presidents and Senior Managers”.
Although globally all indications and studies show that Women CEOs show integrity and superior values, they are more sensitive to their responsibilities and responsibilities, make difficult but prudent decisions and are more receptive to views and have better levels of communication. he added.
Mr. Antoniou assured that OEB will help in any initiative aimed at improving employment conditions, as we must recognize, as he noted, “that without the contribution of women there can be no healthy economy and no functioning socio-economic structures “.
He stated that KOGEE through its timeless efforts and campaigns such as “Equal Remuneration”, has shown the courage to claim the right of women to a working environment without discrimination, but that promotes equal opportunities in work, education, pay and the prospect of professional career and advancement.
He also stated that OEB was the first Organization in Cyprus to issue a Code of Practice for Combating Sexual Harassment at Work as early as May 2004, with the aim of consolidating basic social values and legal obligations.
He also said that OEB, on its own initiative, actively contributed to the creation and development of a certification model for companies that implement policies that ensure gender equality in their staff, which is still implemented by the competent Ministry of Labor.
Also, the President of OEB said that KOGEE and OEB together inaugurated since 2017 the institution of the awards of Women of Excellence “Erifili”, which due to the difficulties of the pandemic have been stopped but will return soon with upgraded enthusiasm.
The President of KOGEE Mary Papadopoulou said that “we faced problems and challenges that today are changing dizzyingly in a world that is constantly changing and added that KOGEE undertook the promotion of an action plan, knowing” from the beginning that we must make the revolution for the obvious ” , such as, for example, equal participation in decision-making centers, equal opportunities and the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices, “for all those who keep women on the sidelines”.
The President of KOGEE then referred to the actions and enlightenment campaigns undertaken by the Federation, emphasizing, however, that “the gap is holding well”.
“As long as it lasts, we will continue with the same stubbornness and the same commitment,” he concluded.