The European Parliament Office in Cyprus, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, and International Organisation for the Promotion of Women of Europe, organised a seminar entitled ‘Women, Poverty and Social Exclusion’ on the 3 March 2010 in Nicosia.

Guest speakers at the event included the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Ms. Sotiroulla Charalamblous, Ms. Iliana Nicolaou, Commissioner for Administration, Ms. Susana Pavlou, Director of the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, Ms. Areti Demosthenous, Director of the Institute of Historical Research for Peace, and Ms Katerina Kokkinou, representative of the Cyprus Sociological Association.  Dr. Nicos Peristianis, President of the University of Nicosia, chaired the panel. 

Sotiroula Charalambous, Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, gave an overview of the government policy and reiterated her commitment to addressing the issue of poverty and social exclusion effectively, specifically in relation women.

In her intervention, Susana Pavlou, Director of the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies emphasized that poverty and social exclusion are a consequence of social inequalities, of which the most pervasive is gender inequality. Inequality in the labour market, in political systems, reduced pensions, the lack of adequate child care, violence against women and the pay gap between women and men, are factors that put European women at greater risk of poverty than men regardless of age or social group. Despite this, the gendered aspect of poverty and social exclusion is almost always invisible because women are either referred to as a ‘vulnerable group’ rather than being recognized as constituting half of the population, or worse, “women disappear behind gender-neutral terms such as single parents, the unemployed, persons with disabilities, and so on”.

The event was attended by representatives from women’s organizations, NGOs, government officials, MPs and members of the public. The event was covered widely both in major television news bulletins and in the print media included Simerini 09/03/2010 and Cyprus Weekly 05/03/2010.