Cyprus commits to scale up support for gender equality rooted in a new national action plan (updated)

A new national action plan on equality between women and men for 2014–2017 is a flagship national policy signaling continued strong support for achieving gender equality and realizing the human rights of women and girls. Cyprus reaffirms its commitment to relevant legal action plans and directives, and all relevant international instruments combatting all forms of violence against women. Promoting women’s economic empowerment and eliminating deeply rooted gender stereotypes are among its priorities, as is combatting trafficking in human beings.

Cyprus signed the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. It has established a technical committee on gender equality and commits to backing full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Cyprus will also prepare a Green Book for Mass Media practitioners to provide guiding principles on promoting gender equality through the media, including how to cover violence against women and avoid gender stereotypes.

Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Nicos Anastasiades said: “The role of women in the promotion of reconciliation and peace is invaluable.” [ Speech | commitment: enesfr ]

Developments since Cyprus’s commitment

Since the appointment of the Commissioner for Gender Equality in 2014, six Committees have been established, including on equal participation, violence against women and trafficking, economic empowerment, eliminating gender stereotypes and more, in order to implement the Strategic Plan on Gender Equality 2014–2017. The government has also strengthened collaboration with women’s organizations.

As a result of awareness raising campaigns and other measures, the participation of women in the House of Representatives has increased from 10.7 per cent to 17.85 per cent in 2016. Women are also present in high-ranking positions, in banks, boards and within the government.

The new Strategic Plan on Equality between Women and Men 2014–2017 has been widely distributed to all ministries, government departments, women’s organizations and local authorities, and awareness-raising campaigns have been implemented to encourage women to report incidents of violence, and to sensitize professionals and the public.

In line with the Istanbul Convention the Government has prepared a bill aiming at the criminalization of harassment and stalking, and it is expected to be sent for approval in September 2016. The Ministry of Justice and Public Order is also working on assessing and modernizing the family law. Additionally, the Gender Equality Unit has begun data collection for reporting under the CEDAW obligations in 2017. [ Full update ]