April 14, 2024

68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Statement by the Commissioner on Gender Equality of the Republic of Cyprus, Ms. Iosifina Christodoulou

New York, 18 March 2024

Madame Chair,

Cyprus aligns with the statement delivered by the European Union. Allow me to add some remarks with my national capacity.

I am deeply honoured to address the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, dedicated to such important priority theme. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women for organizing this critical meeting.

The urgency of this year’s priority theme cannot be overstated. Despite efforts made in recent years, gender inequalities persist, obstructing the full realization of women’s and girls human rights worldwide. The feminization of poverty remains a harsh reality, which is the result of economic marginalization, of limited access to education, to healthcare, to financial resources and restricted employment opportunities.

The empowerment of women and girls is inextricable linked to the robustness of our institutions and the efficiency of our financing mechanisms. Gender-responsive governance structures, policies, and legislation are imperative to eliminate systemic barriers and foster women’s participation and leadership across all sectors. Sustainable and adequate financing is essential to support initiatives that promote gender equality and ensure equitable allocation of resources to address the needs and priorities of women and girls.

Madame Chair,

The Government of Cyprus remains committed to advancing women’s rights and is steadfast in its determination to realise substantive equality between women and men.

Over the years, Cyprus has implemented various National Action Plans and Strategies targeting gender equality, enacted legislation to address gender inequalities, and established independent bodies to promote gender equality.

Based on evaluation of the previous work done, we are now undertaking new efforts with the recent developed Strategy on Gender Equality 2024-2026. A guiding framework through which gender is mainstreamed in a holistic and horizontal manner within the government but also into policies and actions of all Ministries. This cannot be successful without the collaboration of social partners, civil society, women’s organizations, academia and the business community. Part of our efforts is to create but also to sustain a gendered friendly socio- economic environment.

Central to our efforts is the implementation of state gender budgeting enabling Ministries to plan targeted actions and policies based on sex- disaggregated data and socio-economic needs. Both, gender budgeting and robust sex- disaggregated data together with a comprehensive strategy and strong political will, will assist us in the design and implementation of more targeted policies and actions that will help in alleviate women from poverty. The Strategy on Gender Equality also addresses the intersecting forms of discrimination faced by women, including young women, elderly women, women with disabilities, single-parent women and women from migrant backgrounds.

To succeed into mainstream gender across governmental policies gender focal points in all Ministries have been appointed. This approach ensures the effective and horizontal implementation of our policies.

Moreover, the recent Policy Declaration on Gender Equality, signed by the President and all Ministers and cosigned by the Commissioner for Gender Equality also demonstrates our collective commitment to fostering gender equality within governmental structures. The institutional declaration emphasizes zero tolerance for sexist behaviors, gender discrimination and underscores the importance of setting an example in the public service that can be reflected to the society.

In addition, Cyprus has made significant strides in combating violence against women, including the establishment of a National Coordinating Body to Prevent and Combat Violence Against Women, the drafting of comprehensive legislation aligned with international conventions and the establishment of specialized support services for victims of gender-based violence.

Despite these achievements, deep rooted social and cultural norms continue to perpetuate discrimination against women, hindering progress towards gender equality. The Government remains committed to overcoming these barriers by improving further the legislative framework, engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality, strengthening institutional mechanisms, integrating gender across development policies, ensuring equitable financing, challenging gender stereotypes and harnessing the potential of technology for women’s empowerment.

Excellencies,

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action unity, cooperation and joint political will are crucial. A strong and empowered women’s movement and civil society plays a pivotal role in challenging social stereotypes and prejudices and promoting gender equality.

In conclusion, I express my confidence that the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women will yield fruitful discussions and concrete actions to accelerate progress towards gender equality, the empowerment of all women and girls and securing their human rights.

Let us seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of gender equality and fundamental human rights and to take bold actions that will bring us closer to achieving our shared vision of a world where every woman and girl can live a life free from discrimination, violence, and poverty.

Thank you.