Cyprus has 27% of women in management-level positions – one of the lowest rates in the EU and ranks 22nd in the EU on the Gender Equality Index, House Speaker Annita Demetrious said Saturday, addressing the 5th BPW Mediterranean Symposium titled ”Women leading the way in our new reality”.

Demetriou said that Gender inequalities are strongly pronounced in the domain of power and Cyprus still has a long way to go to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation in decision-making structures and leadership.

She noted that women’s empowerment is close to her heart, adding that being the first female President of the House of Representatives, she is a staunch defender of gender equality, gender-balanced representation in decision-making structures and leadership and gender mainstreaming in legislation.

Demetriou in her speech also noted that currently, Cypriot women shoulder much more care responsibilities and unpaid work than men and have limited access to leadership networks.

“The investment of €20.5 million in the framework of the Cyprus Recovery and Resilience Plan on supporting early childhood education and the creation of a network of childcare facilities is a positive step forward as it will foster full-time labour market participation of carers, notably women”, she said.

House Speaker said that Cypriot women encounter multiple constraints and are deprived of equal opportunities in assuming leadership roles because of persistent gender stereotypes and cultural bias and are often perceived as ill-equipped for assuming leadership positions.

“We must focus our efforts to overcome the particular challenges that hold women and girls back. We must step up our efforts to eliminate the gender pay and pension gaps (9% and 39%, respectively), the gender segregation in education, training, and employment and female underrepresentation in the fields of ICTs and STEM”, she underlined.

Demetriou also noted that it is imperative to transform the male-dominated narrative of leadership, to inspire change and encourage more women representation in decision-making and leadership.

“Working closely together in solidarity and unity, we can strive for a better, more sustainable, equitable and promising future for present and future generations”, she concluded.

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