Address by the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Syllouris, on the event “13th Kivotos Golden Lady” Woman of the Year Award 2019, in Lefkosia
It is with great pleasure that I have accepted the invitation to address you all on this prestigious occasion. I am honoured to be among you tonight, taking part in this event that provides us with a great opportunity to recognise and appreciate the hard work and successes of women in our society. In the face of the four category finalists and the grand winner of the “Kivotos Golden Lady” Woman of the Year Award, we celebrate and honour all women of Cyprus, who strive to excel in today’s complex and competitive world. Women who work with determination and courage to overcome obstacles and challenges and claim their rightful equal share within the realm of our society.
I warmly congratulate the grand winner and all four finalists who are being honoured tonight. Each and every one of them has left a distinctive mark in her respective field of action and beyond. I must also extend my congratulations to the organisers for putting together this event, but above all for their initiative to establish these awards, that are now running in their 13th year.
Tonight’s event acts not only as a means to showcase the multifaceted and unique role of women in our society, but also as a catalyst for positive interactions and exchanges that can lead to the revaluation of the notion of equality in our society. It can be argued that the designation of gender specific awards is outdated, as we live in an era where both women and men enjoy the same rights and bear the same obligations. However, if we take a closer look, we will realise that many inequalities still persist and the glass ceiling continues to be a grim reality.
The House of Representatives, on its part, is a dedicated and active proponent of equal rights and equality in all its aspects. The House is itself proof of the progress achieved in recent years within our society, as it currently enjoys its largest ever percentage, even if not quite satisfactory yet, of women MPs and Committee Chairpersons. This is indeed a positive shift within society, although a lot remains to be done.
Furthermore, the issue of gender equality has been identified as a key issue to be debated in the recently established institution of the “Parallel Parliament”. With the aim of making the Parliament a familiar and accessible place for our citizens, we introduced the “Parallel Parliament” concept, where Members of Parliament have the opportunity to listen carefully to the concerns of specific social groups and contribute to their solution, through a permanent channel of dialogue and communication with the citizens. In this way, citizens are encouraged to get involved themselves in what happens around them and concerns them and progress and development can be achieved at all levels: political, economic, social and cultural.
I remain hopeful that, through the coordinated and committed efforts of the state and all vested actors, we shall soon be able to remove all visible and invisible hurdles that prevent women from reaching their full potential.
In closing, I wish to congratulate again, the extraordinary ladies whom we are honouring tonight and to wish them every success in their future endeavours. They are bright examples of women’s empowerment, as they have worked tirelessly to overcome implicit and explicit prejudices and hurdles and to excel in their respective fields.
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