Cyprus

Cyprus

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Gender-political situation in Cyprus

Overview

Legal situation:

Protagonists:

Academia:

Brief description and evaluation
Due to the lack of sources on Cyprus there are only a few individual morsels of well-grounded information on the gender-political situation. It can be presumed that the EU gender equality acquis has been adapted in the course of EU accession of the Greek part of Cyprus, although no up-to-date information was found. Eye-catching, however, is the very weak institutionalisation of gender policies. Responsibility for these policies lies with the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, but its website offers hardly any gender-related information.

Gender equality policy ‘works’ in Cyprus mainly as women’s policy through women’s organisations, of which there are many. Unfortunately there is only limited information on these organisations available on the internet.

The political parties have separate women’s organisations. Political participation and representation of women in Cyprus is nonetheless still very weak. Accordingly, women’s issues only play a minor role within the political parties and are hardly ever found on their agendas. A lack of social pressure and political will, internal party recruitment processes, the dominant role of men in parliament and government offices (with its corresponding effects on legislation), a weak civil society, the prevalence of traditional roles with its division of tasks according to gender and the lack of time for politics this entails for women are some of the reasons mentioned.

The focuses for gender equality policies in Cyprus are striking: mainly family issues (incl. family planning and/or sexual and reproductive health) and domestic violence. A second focus is on pan-Cypriot (i.e. covering both parts of the island) women’s peace organisations that co-operate with Turkey and Greece in the hope of contributing to a peaceful solution to the conflict in Cyprus.

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Legal situation

Gender equality legislation
Equality between men and women is enshrined in Article 28(1) of the Constitution, which prohibits any direct or indirect discrimination against any person, inter alia, on grounds of sex (Article 28(2)). The main concepts of the EU gender equality acquis have gradually been embodied in Cypriot legislation. Law No. 205(I) of 2002, which provides for the Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Training, has definitions of the concepts of direct and indirect gender-based discrimination, of positive action, of harassment and of sexual harassment, which are the same as in relevant directives.

Overall, the transposition of directives on the gender equality acquis into the national laws in Cyprus has been satisfactorily completed and they have started to have a positive effect on the lives of working people. Gender equality principles have also been embodied in collective labour agreements. The problem rests with the implementation of the legal provisions due to a lack of proper information for the social partners. Since 2004 (the year of Cyprus’ accession) no cases have been brought before the Supreme Court on matters of discrimination.

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Anti-discrimination legislation
Law No. 205(I) of 2002, which provides for the Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Training, has definitions of the concepts of gender-based direct and indirect discrimination, of positive action, of harassment and of sexual harassment, which are the same as in relevant directives.

Some examples of laws:

Act No. 205(I) of 2002, which provides for the Equal Treatment of Men and Women as regards Access to Employment and Vocational Training, gazette 3658 of 6 December 2002, law No. 176(I) of 2007, last amended by law No. 39(I) of 2009

Act No. 177(I) of 2002 to provide for equal pay for men and women for equal work or work of equal value, gazette 3638 of 27 September 2002, law No. 193(I) of 2004, last amended by law No. 38(I) of 2009

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Legislated gender quota with a focus on politics and business
The socialist party (EDEK/KISOS) has adopted a 30% quota system.

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National Action Plan for Gender Equality
In December 2009 the Council of Ministers approved the first National Plan 2010-2013 for Preventing and Combating Violence in the Family. The aim of the National Action Plan is to promote measures and policies for the prevention of violence in the family on a comprehensive and systematic basis. It has the following strategic targets: 1) following up the problem of violence in the family; 2) preventing violence in the family; 3) training professionals for dealing with the matter; 4) applying legislation (Law which provides for the Prevention of Violence in the Family and Protection of Victims of 2000-2004); 5) protecting victims of violence in the family; 6) coordinating and evaluating the application of the Action Plan.

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Current political discourse
Combating domestic violence (see National Action Plan for Gender Equality) and human trafficking are at the focus of policy development. The National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings (2010-2012) was approved by the Council of Ministers and published in April 2010.

The plan aims at creating a general framework for dealing with the issue of human trafficking by setting real targets which cover all parameters of the problem and by promoting specific actions through better and more constructive coordination.

Currently the Cypriot government has two female ministers, the Minister of Communications and Public Works and the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance.

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Protagonists

NGOs: political parties, civil society organisations
Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA, Greek)
The CFPA is an honorary, not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation created in 1971. The overall goal and purpose of this association is to strengthen the rights of all Cypriot people, including young people, in the area of sexual and reproductive health.

This is done by means of a road map for sexual and reproductive human rights, which even achieved UN approval. 12 human rights constitute the elements of this road map, among them the right to life, freedom, safety, equality, freedom of expression, and healthcare (AIDS/HIV). The CFPA endorses and promotes these rights through its programmes and active members.

Contact:
20 Lefkonos Str, apt 303
Strovolos
Nicosia 2064
Tel.: +357 (22) 751 093
Email: famplan@spidernet.com.cy

Cyprus Gender Equality Observatory (CGEO, English)
An NGO created in 2003 that carries out social, scientific and research activities in the crucial and sensitive areas of gender equality, equal opportunities and the fight against all forms of discrimination (gender-based, based on sexual orientation etc.). Fields of action:

  • Monitoring gender equality and equal opportunities with regard to finance and society, at work, in education, in the family etc.

  • Comparing Cypriot, European and international politicians with regard to gender equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women

  • Monitoring the results, research and surveys in the field of gender at the local, regional, national and international level

  • Evaluating data; deriving and developing diverse activities

  • Recapping proposals for positive measures aiming at equal opportunities

Contact:
Contact Person: Flora Giagkou, Administratio C.G.E.O
Address: 40 Byron str., 3rd floor, 1511 Nicosia
Tel.: +357 77772070  +357 22441899 
Fax: +357 22 441896
Email: pik@cytanet.com.cy

Note: The organisation’s recent publications are available for download.

GODISY – Women’s Organisation Of The Democratic Rally (Christian Democratic Party, English)
GODISY is the Women’s Organisation of the Democratic Rally and works for inner-party solutions for an active equality between men and women. In the Rally, men and women participate on an equal footing in Party activities and have equal opportunities to contribute and be promoted.

Contact:
25 Pindarou Street
P.O. Box 25305
CY-1308 Nicosia
Tel.: + 357 22 88 30 00, + 357 22 88 31 71
Fax: + 357 22 75 38 21 
Email: disy@disy.org.cy, epikinonia@disy.org.cy

Women's Organization Of The Democratic Party (GODIK, Greek and partially in English)
GODIK was founded in 1979 as the women’s organisation of the Democratic Party. GODIK’s mission is to work towards a just and sustainable permanent solution to the conflict in Cyprus and also to strengthen Cypriot women in all areas of their life.

Contact:
Democratic Party
(Main Offices)
50, Gr. Dhigenis Ave.
P.O. Box 23979,
CY-1080, Nicosia
Tel.: + 357 22 873 800
Fax:+ 35722 873 801
Email: godik@diko.org.cy

The Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (English)
The association was founded on 25 July 1990. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that is trying to promote effective solutions and programmes for the problem of domestic violence. Concrete actions it engages in:

  • Domestic violence prevention measures

  • Help and support for victims of domestic violence through counselling and services (shelters etc.)

  • Training of honorary counsellors

  • Advocacy and public relations to increase public awareness of domestic violence

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Government, ministries
Office of the Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman, the website is in English, and is partially available in Turkish)
The Office of the Commissioner for Administration was established in 1991. Based on the competencies set out by Cypriot legislation, the Commissioner exercises control over decisions and actions taken by public administrative authorities. In 2004 the Commissioner’s mandate was extended to the private sector. Grounds for discrimination that are examined are, for example, national or racial origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender.

In all, 45 persons work in the Office of the Commissioner for Administration. The budget for the National Equality Body that was approved by Parliament for the year 2010 was €2,025,242.

Contact:
ERA House
2 Diagorou Street
1097 Nicosia
Cyprus
Tel.: +357 22 405500
Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.cy

A complaint form can be downloaded directly from the website: Complaint form (Greek)

The Ministry of Justice and Public Order (English)
In Cyprus this ministry is charged with the promotion of gender equality and the protection of women’s rights in all aspects of life. To this end the National Machinery for Women’s Rights (NMWR) was established in 1994. The NMWR corresponds to an equality body (as part of the implementation of the EU anti-discrimination directive).

The NMWR is a system of 4 bodies (see below) under the supervision and management of the Minister of Justice and Public Order.

Contact:
12 Iiioupoleos Street
CY - Nicosia 1461
Tel.: +357 22 805 928
Fax: +357 22 518358

Government bodies and instruments for the promotion of equality:

  • The Council for Women’s Rights: with the participation of the Minister of Justice and Public Order as chair, the state secretary as vice chair and representatives of the large women’s organisations and unions

  • The Inter-Ministerial Committee: with the participation of the state secretary as chair and the relevant officials for women’s rights in all ministries and the planning office

  • The National Committee for Women’s Rights: consisting of all members of the Council for Women´s Rights, all relevant officials and other organisations that promote equality between women and men

  • The General Secretariat of the NMWR: this is the government department for equality and run by a general secretary from the Ministry of Justice and Public Order. It offers administrative and scientific support for the counselling bodies of the National Machinery

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Academia

 University institutions
Centre for Women and Peace Studies

Contact:
4A Kissamou Street, Pallouriotissa,
CY - 1040 Nicosia
Tel.: +357 22 436940
Fax: +357 22 495632
Email: thepeacecentre@yahoo.com

Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (English)
The Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) is a non-profit organisation which promotes and contributes to projects of social, political, and economic themes relating to gender with an emphasis on the Mediterranean region.

Contact:
46 Makedonitissas Avenue,
Box 24005,
CY - Nicosia 1703,
Tel.:+ 357 22 351274/76 (ext. 115)
Fax:+ 357 22 353682
Email: info@medinstgenderstudies.org

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Sources
Availability of sources:
Very limited sources; NGOs frequently without websites, many websites only in Greek, sometimes in English or Turkish, very little information on government policies

Citation of relevant sources:
When available links to internet sources were included directly in the text on organisations/actors.

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Literature
Agapiou-Josephides, Kalliope 2004: Frauen und Politik in Zypern – Der lange Weg in die Politik und die europäische Perspektive (Women and politics in Cyprus – the long path into politics and the European perspective). In: Hoecker, Beate/ Fuchs, Gesine (ed.): Handbuch Politische Partizipation von Frauen in Europa. Volume II: Die Beitrittsstaaten. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, pp. 245-257

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This study was conducted by Tanja Berger und Pamela Dorsch and comissioned by the Gunda Werner Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2010.


All images, except marked otherwise: Public Domain CC0