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You Commit, I Vote / #ICOMMIT2016

[Brussels, 27 May 2016, Press Release by the Cyprus Women’s Lobby] In the context of the parliamentary elections of 2016, the Cyprus Women’s Lobby (CWL) announced the results of the #ICOMMIT2016, ’Commitment to an Equal and Democratic society’ campaign on Monday 16 May 2016; a campaign that involved specific commitments related to gender equality.

Gender Equality is absent or is not high on the agenda of political parties, in the political and public debate in general and during the election period in particular. During the election period, the prevailing issues are the economy and the Cyprus issues, both of which overshadow all other issues and ignore that equality is an integral part of both these issues. The needs, aspirations, interests and women’s perspectives are completely marginalized.

It must be understood that gender issues are issues that must be taken into account horizontally in all state policies and not only in social policy. Issues such as violence against women, equal pay, sexual and reproductive health, family and professional life are not matters that concern women only but society as a whole. For this reasons we need to have women and men who are willing to integrate a gender dimension into policy-making - that is, to assess the needs of both women and men within policy and the legislative framework, as well as the potential impact of policies on women and men given their initial unequal position in society.

Considering the numerical absence of women in decision-making and the lack of gender equality on the political agenda, the Cyprus Women’s Lobby decided to organize the #ICOMMIT2016 campaign and invite all candidates to participate and ensure that gender equality will be high on the political agenda during the next term of Parliament.

The #ICOMMIT2016 Campaign concerns the following six (6) commitments that the candidates and potential MPs were asked to commit to and support if elected:
1. To support all efforts to combat and eliminate violence against women.
2. To ensure the reconciliation of work and family life.
3. To integrate a gender perspective into all policies including the state budget (gender budgeting).
4. To ensure the reduction and elimination of the pay gap between women and men.
5. To promote the equal participation of women in all levels of economic and political decisions.
6. To act with transparency, based on the principles of democracy, fairness, equality, justice, with a strong social conscience.

A TOTAL of 104 parliamentary candidates or 21.09% responded to the Cyprus Women’s Lobby campaign and promised, if elected on Sunday (22 MAY), to support the six commitments promoting gender equality.

Total number of candidates: 493
• 108 Women - 21.91%
• 385 Men - 78.09%

Of the total of 108 women candidates 40% pledged their commitment, while of the 385 men, only 16% committed themselves.

Details regarding the political party that committed are
Six belong to AKEL, 26 to DIKO, 11 to DISY, 23 to EDEK, 27 to the Green Party and 13 are from the Citizens’ Alliance.

Through the campaign the Cyprus Women’s Lobby concluded that gender issues are not high on the political agenda of neither the political parties nor the candidates.
With more women in the House or Representatives, there are more chances to prioritize gender issues and generally for women’s voices, needs, expectations, interests and perspective to be heard and to be taken into account.

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Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

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