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22-02-2024 18:48

Message by H.E. the President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, Ms. Annita Demetriou on the occasion of the “European Conference for Gender Budgeting: Achievements, Challenges, The Way Forward”

Thursday, 22 February, 2024 – 9.30 a.m.
University of Cyprus: Senate Council Building “Anastasios Leventis”

Esteemed Commissioner for Gender Equality,

Honorable Moderator of the Cyprus Gender Budgeting Platform,

Respected Members of the Academic Community,

Distinguished Experts on Gender Issues,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I consider it a privilege to be among such prominent figures and personalities, gathered here to address the fundamental topic of gender budgeting in governmental policies, which is undoubtably a present-day necessity. All efforts to shape the dialogue aiming to advance gender equality and inclusive policy making, with gender budgeting being a core part of it, should be fervently supported.

I particularly welcome the growing advocacy for gender mainstreaming undertaken by civil society organizations, feminist think tanks and women’s rights groups in our country and across Europe, pushing for greater transparency and accountability in budgetary policy making. To this end, allow me to warmly congratulate the Cyprus Platform on Gender Budgeting for organizing the European Conference for Gender Budgeting, with the aim to gather all stakeholders in a joint effort to discuss achievements, challenges and the way forward in gender mainstreaming. I would also like to thank the “Women’s Budget Group” for supporting this important initiative.

Αs House of Representatives, we did a lot. We managed to achieve the presence of the Gender Equality Officers in the ministries, but they need not only just to be appointed, but to implement the policies. We need to show that we want to give a priority about those issues. 

Apart from the National Strategy, which is really important, what is really important now is the implementation.

As far as the Cyprus’ House of Representatives is concerned, I can proudly say that it is the first time that these issues are in priority, not only on gender budgeting in the Auditor General’s Office, but in general as a priority for us. So, it is really important to see what more we can do. 

Through the House’s interparliamentary cooperation and multilateral exchanges, we are aware of significant examples of best practice in other European states.

Austria has implemented gender budgeting initiatives at both national and regional levels and has introduced gender impact assessments that help policymakers identify areas where additional resources are needed to promote gender equality. Austria's gender budgeting efforts have resulted in targeted investments in areas such as childcare, employment support, and violence prevention programs. From the Scandinavian countries, Sweden is often cited as a pioneer in gender budgeting. Since the mid-90s, Sweden has systematically integrated gender perspectives into its budgeting process at both national and local levels, allocating necessary resources to address gender disparities in areas such as childcare, parental leave, and healthcare. In the United Kingdom, the “Women's Budget Group,” an independent network of researchers and activists provides economic policy analysis and recommendations to the government for a gender-responsive budgeting. We are looking forward to hearing more on the experience in your countries and thoroughly examine the cases that most resonate with the Republic of Cyprus.

Honorable Experts and Guests, dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The conclusion is one. We need to do more. We need to take our shared responsibility, not only because we are women, or we have a female Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first time, but because it is really important to show our responsiveness in something related with Democracy. It is the only way to have representation of women everywhere in the decision-making process and encourage women and young people to participate in all this. It is the only way to be fair, more inclusive, and in the end more adjustable to the challenges we have to confront.   

I would like to express my warm congratulations for the excellent initiative. I wish you all fruitful deliberations and I look forward to discussing with you the conclusions of this Conference. Human rights and Equality Committee of the House of Representatives will be pleased to be provided with the material of the Conference, as well as certain other initiatives from other countries that we did not talk about and can implement.

In the end of the day it is up to us to have the proper collaboration and see what more we can do. Together we can do more.

We are running late about those issues and my huge concern is now, unfortunately, we need to keep those topics and thematic up, even more because of the war agenda.

The priority on human rights, gender equality and all these matters is the only way to survive and proceed in the complicated political period for all of us. 

In the end of the day it is up to us. It takes a critical view to bring about change and we must decisively shape it together. And yes, we can do more. Thank you.

(The text as sent by the House of Representatives)