High Level Thematic Debate
Advancing Gender Equality and the empowerment of Women and Girls for a transformative post-2015 development agenda
Interactive panel discussion II – Education
Thank you Madam Chair, your Excellency,
Cyprus aligns itself with the statement made by Latvia on behalf of the EU earlier today and would like to add some comments in its national capacity. Cyprus is committed to gender equality, the empowerment and the realization of the human rights for women and girls and has made significant progress to that effect in the last decades, including through the prioritization of policies that emphasize education as a means for the empowerment of women and girls.
Today, women in Cyprus have full access to education and the annual number of female university graduates is often higher to that of men. In addition, Cyprus holds a high percentage of women graduates in the sectors of engineering, manufacturing and construction. Education and training is also an important aspect of targeted policies for the promotion of the empowerment of women, such as programmes for entrepreneurship and the empowerment of inactive women work force. Furthermore, young girls are educated on issues of health and gender equality.
Today, the empowerment of women has resulted in the increased participation of women at the workplace, while a balanced professional and family life has become easier. Moreover, the participation of women in decision-making and in senior posts has increased in both the public and the private sector. Women hold high ranking independent positions in the public sector, while the number of senior women civil servants has increased.
Yet, a lot remains to be done. Deeply rooted stereotypes, patriarchal attitudes as regards the role of women in society and in the family and preconceptions that women are fit for specific types of jobs affect the type of studies women pursue, their professional and family life and the balance of caregiving in the family. There is still a gender pay gap, and the same applies with regard to the balance between men and women in nearly all decision-making positions.
The Ministry of Education’s Action Plan on Gender Equality for 2014-2017 includes a number of policies that address gender role stereotypes in the family and in society, such as actions intended to increase the participation of girls in technical fields of study and in the use of new technologies, as well as educational material aiming to cobat gender stereotypes from an early age, by encouraging boys to participate in the family life and girls to participate in politics and the public life. The Action Plan also foresees the training of parents in gender equality issues.
Cyprus’ new Strategic Plan on Equality between men and women for the period 2014-2017, decided after consultation with the civil society, includes among its six priority areas the goals of balancing women’s participation in decision making, increasing the economic empowerment of women and eliminating gender sterotypes and relevant social prejudice through, among others actions that focus on education.
We remain committed to this challenging quest for the full realization of the empowerment of women and girls both nationally and internationally. In this framework, we reiterate our support for putting gender equality and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls at the core of the forthcoming post-2015 development agenda and for having a relevant stand-alone goal
Thank you Madam Chair