8 March 2024

“Each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women”

The 8 March, International Women’s Day, is a milestone to remind everyone that there is no limit to what women can accomplish to the benefit of collective societies, in standing up united for social progress and peace in the world.

Against the norms of their times, the dawn of the 20th century found the women’s labour movements in the streets, leading several anti-capitalists strikes and demanding gender equality in all facets of human activity. The fundamental achievements of women around the world which we commemorate today, are celebrated for breaking away from the era of the ‘invisible’ woman and the overall patriarchal dominance over women’s lives. Most profoundly though, they are celebrated as a constant reminder of our duty to safeguard what they had achieved and to continue our struggles until gender equality is realized.

Our responsibility remains to continue fostering all our activities towards the full realization of social justice, of which gender equality is a decisive element. Despite past progress, a lot more has to be achieved before we can enjoy a world free from sexism, gender-based violence, inequality at work and patriarchal structures and stereotypes. Unfortunately, against the backdrop of the mainstream social and economic structures which entrench and deepen various, including gendered, inequalities, numerous and significant challenges remain.

Nevertheless, aware of the difficulties ahead, our determination to continue leading the way through our example and struggles, is strong. It is strengthened by the will of many women here in Cyprus who are demanding respect and equality in all aspects of private and public life. By the women of our country, who continue to suffer the detrimental effects of gender gaps in working conditions and unemployment, of gendered poverty that is further entrenched by the current energy insecurity and rising prices of goods and services, of the huge gaps in the incorporation of the dimension of gender in social and economic policies, of the continuation of the divisionist status quo which inhibits any prospects for real and viable progress.

We, the women of Cyprus, express our determination to stand and work together to defend our human rights in their entirety, to set another example of common struggle, to give hope and a perspective for the empowerment of women, to eliminate stereotypes, but also to confront all forms of division and to fight for the reunification of our island and people.

We demand that this is the last 8 March that the women of our island celebrate the International Women’s Day in a divided island.

We regret the fact that for almost seven years now, substantive negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem have not resumed.

We insist though, that both leaders must cooperate constructively with the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General and work for the resumption of the peace process in full alignment with the parameters of the UN, the joint statement of the two leaders dated 11 February 2014, the Guterres Six-point Framework dated 30 June 2017, and all the convergences that have been recorded up until the end of the Crans Montana Conference in 2017.

We declare our firm belief that the divisionist status quo cannot be our future and we recall our strong opposition to any forces promoting partitionist ideas and actions that are counterproductive to the reunification of our country and people. Simultaneously, we underline that the comprehensive solution should guarantee the respect for the human rights of all Cypriots, the political equality of the two communities and ensure a move away from armaments and militarization.

On 8 March, we recall that Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council affirms that peace cannot be maintained without the participation of women in decision-making and conflict resolution processes. Hence, we recall the Action Plan on Women’s Participation in Negotiations which has been adopted and demand its full implementation, along with the incorporation of a gender perspective at future negotiations. Our women organisations reiterate that we are ready to contribute in this direction and provide ideas on how gender equality can be supported through the structures and policies of a united federal Cyprus.

Guided by our common past, full of shining examples of coexistence, cooperation and common struggles in difficult times as well, we the Women’s Movement of POGO and the Women’s Organisation of CTP, pledge our faith in our common future, the well-being of all Cypriot women and in the role, we can play as a global example of conflict resolution and peace. We will continue working together, across all dividing lines and through the assumption of further initiatives, to fulfil our common goals.

Our promise, is that against all possible hindrances and challenges, we the Women’s Movement of POGO and the Women’s Organisation of CTP will continue working together for the realization of sustainable peace, justice, prosperity, and gender equality.

Skevi Koukouma Dogus Derya
Secretary General of POGO President of Women Organization of CTP

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