The promotion of gender equality through policies and legislation in Cyprus is a fairly recent phenomenon. Mostly due to Cyprus’s harmonisation with the aquis communitaire, an impressive number of legislative measures relating to gender equality have been passed in the last decade, covering the areas of equal treatment in employment, equal pay, maternity protection, parental leave, violence in the family, and more. Overall, the transposition of directives on the gender-equality acquis into Cyprus’s national laws has been satisfactorily completed, and these laws have begun to have a positive effect on the lives of working people.
A number of National Action Plans (NAPs) and strategies have been developed that specifically address gender inequality, including the NAP on Equality between Women and Men, which specifically refers to gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is largely influenced by EU directives and international conventions for the promotion of gender equality, such as the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action.
The National Machinery for Women’s Rights (NMWR) under the Ministry of Justice and Public Order is the main coordinating body for the promotion of gender equality. It advises the Council of Ministers on policies, programmes and laws promoting women’s rights. The NMWR consists of a council that is chaired by the Minister of Justice. It comprises 17 women’s organisations, with advisory functions; an additional 60 NGOs; an interministerial committee consisting of gender focal points from all ministries; and a general secretariat run by the Equality Unit of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order.
Laws and policies
In the absence of a specific law or legislative provision for gender mainstreaming, the most important national policy document that makes reference to gender mainstreaming is the National Action Plan on Equality between Women and Men (2007–2013). This document incorporates a holistic approach to gender equality, defining separate actions to promote gender equality in six main thematic units.
Methods and tools
Methods in use include the collection of sex-disaggregated statistics (with the Cyprus Statistical Service playing a leading role in this effort), knowledge generation and the conducting of research, gender planning, and consultation with stakeholders.