Issues of violence of primary concern to women across both communities in Cyprus, a survey shows

The issues of violence against women (physical and psychological) is of primary concern to women across both communities in Cyprus, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the National Mechanism for the Rights of Women.

The results of the survey were presented at a press conference on Tuesday. The survey, according to a press release, aimed at examining the position of women, their perceptions, aspirations and experiences across the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities with respect to personal, professional and political issues.

?350 Greek Cypriot women and 355 Turkish Cypriot women aged 18 and over were asked to answer a short questionnaire in November 2017.

According to the findings, personal financial independence and access to health care are also high riding issues of concern for women in both communities. Equal access to training opportunities and work-life balance are also important areas of concern, somewhat more so among Greek Cypriot than Turkish Cypriot women.

At an overall level, the overwhelming majority of women from both communities claim to be satisfied with their life in general, with particularly high satisfaction levels claimed with respect to having the freedom to do what they choose with their life, their professional life and their standard of living. This is further reflected in a perception that the position of women in society is getting better overall (more than 3 in 4 Greek Cypriot women and approximately 2 in 3 Turkish Cypriot women claim so).

On the contrary, a notable difference is observed with respect to work-life balance and the acknowledgement of skills, capabilities and qualifications, with regard to which Greek Cypriot women are significantly more satisfied than their Turkish Cypriot counterparts.

Despite the overall positive personal satisfaction levels, there is clearly a gap with respect to the degree to which women feel that they are treated as equals, with less than 3 in 5 Greek Cypriot women and just around 2 in 5 Turkish Cypriot women claiming that they are treated equally with men in order to fully fulfil their potential.

In turn, this is reflected in relatively low satisfaction levels with respect to the opportunities offered to women across a range of areas. While a large majority of women consider that adequate opportunities are offered with respect to participating in charity or NGO organizations, a considerably lower share report being satisfied with opportunities related to participation in politics, holding managerial positions or being represented in professional bodies, particularly among the Greek Cypriot women.

Moreover, women from both communities, report a range of negative experiences in the course of the past 1 year, particularly in relation to having had to sacrifice a personal interest or hobby on account of lack of personal time. For Greek Cypriot women this appears to be related partly to not having anywhere to leave their children, while for Turkish Cypriot women the additional element of lack of encouragement from another family member may also be having a role.

The issue of lack of personal financial independence is also elevated, with more than 2 in 5 Greek Cypriot women and nearly 3 in 5 Turkish Cypriot women claiming that they have had to ask for money form another family member in order to cover personal expenses.

The most clear differences across the 2 communities lie in general perceptions with regards to the position of women. Turkish Cypriot women have a significantly higher belief that some work types should be done only by women and others only by men and that it is fair for women to spend more time at home and men to bring home most of the income. Similarly, Turkish Cypriot women are more inclined to believe that women are equally rewarded at work and are more honest than men. On the contrary, Greek Cypriot women clearly perceive that they are in a better position in society as compared to the situation of Turkish Cypriot women.

The Cyprus problem and how it evolves ranks lowest in terms of important issues of concern for women of both communities. Among Turkish Cypriot women, this is reflected in low levels of concern as to whether the Cyprus problem is solved; on the contrary, the solution to the problem is rated as of high importance among Greek Cypriot women. Within each community the population is split as to whether women can contribute more than men or benefit from a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated UN-led round of negotiations have yet to lead to an agreement which would reunite Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency