The government, and every official individually, must be daily role models for the cultivation, promotion and foundation of gender equality and work specifically in this direction, said on Friday the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, during his address at the event for Women’s Day that took place at the Presidential Palace in cooperation with the Office of the Commissioner for Gender Equality.

He said that in the 12 months since taking office, the government proceeded with the upgrading of the role of the Commissioner for Gender Equality and Gender Equality Officers in all Ministries and Deputy Ministries, with the coordinating role of the Commissioner expected to be voted by Parliament soon.

“Tackling gender discrimination is everyone’s responsibility, especially men’s, and a collective effort is needed to promote gender equality,” the President said, adding that “the government, but also each and every official individually, must be daily role models for the cultivation and promotion and foundation of Equality.”

What interests us above all is “to create the conditions through our policies so that women can fully express their potential and interests,” President Christodoulides said.

He also said that the largest ever participation of women in the country’s history has been achieved, especially in the composition of the Council of Ministers, which amounts to 39%, and in the Boards of Directors of semi-government organisations, reaching 40%, especially in the positions of presidents and vice presidents. He also highlighted the recent signing of a policy statement by all members of the government for zero tolerance of sexist and harassing behaviour.

“We must proceed with permanent solutions through substantial reforms to achieve the reconciliation of professional and family life for women, to create the conditions so that women can express interest in participating in the decision-making process in the political and social life of the country,” the President underlined.

Regarding the wage gap between men and women, the President of the Republic said the Ministry of Labour will proceed within the year to strengthen female employment through special incentive schemes for hiring unemployed women, while the Ministry of Agriculture has set as a priority to ensure unhindered and gender-free funding in all agricultural sectors.

On the issue of violence against women, President Christodoulides said that the Government is promoting the implementation of the National Strategy and the Action Plan for the Prevention and Handling of Violence against Women. A total of 75 frontline Health Officers will be trained to deal with the handling cases of gender-based violence, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice. This is be planned for the first half of 2024. The aim is for the early identification and response to such unacceptable incidents.

Commissioner for Gender Equality Josie Christodoulou said in her speech that European countries have the best record in the world in terms of gender equality, with Cyprus ranking 21st among the 27 EU Member States, having achieved great progress in the position of women in society since its accession to the Union.

“Our goal is to integrate the horizontal gender dimension into policies, actions and measures of the state so that the different needs of women and men are taken into account in their planning and evaluation and to establish a culture of gender equality,” she noted.

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