CYPRUS NEEDS to do something about the under-representation of women in public and political life, which in some fields is getting worse instead of better, said Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou yesterday. As part of the government’s new drive to engage in consultations with the public on key matters, the minister yesterday met with members of the public to discuss the participation of women in politics and the public sphere. Nicolaou pledged to study proposals voiced during yesterday’s public consultation on cracking the male-dominated world of public and political life in Cyprus.
“It is inconceivable that in 2013, highly educated women in Europe and Cyprus are limited to stereotypical roles, while society fails to utilise their knowledge, talents and experiences,” he said.
Despite efforts, women remain under-represented in decision-making centres of Europe, making up one third of the members of the European Commission and just over a third (36 per cent) of the European Parliament, noted Nicolaou.
The situation in EU member states is worse, where on average, women count for 24 per cent of cabinet members, 26 per cent of national parliaments and 30 per cent of local and regional authorities.
The Cyprus statistics are even bleaker, where women in parliament comprise 11 per cent of the total (seven out of 56 MPs) while two of the six Cypriot MEPs in Strasbourg are women.
However, it is the council of ministers where under-representation is most noticeable with only one woman among 11 ministers, representing 9.1 per cent cabinet.
From the 16 state officials and ministers appointed by President Nicos Anastasiades since coming to power, three are women, counting for 19 per cent.
In local administration, women make up 18 per cent, counting for 84 of the 472 municipal councillors.
Cyprus fares somewhat better when it comes to the judiciary, with 44 per cent of judges being women. This near parity is not reflected in the highest court of the land, however, the Supreme Court, where only four of 13 judges are women.
In the public service, one third of all senior positions are held by women.
Women still badly underrepresented in Cypriot public life