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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Women will suffer more from economic crisis ]

Women will suffer more from economic crisis

Natalie Hami and Poly Pantelides


MEN AND women are now on an equal footing in terms of unemployment, according to Labour Minister Sotiroulla Charalambous.

“The rate of unemployment for women has increased from 4.6 per cent to seven per cent and for men from 3.4 per cent to 7.2 per cent,” said Charalambous, who was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Global Economic crisis and European Strategies/Policies for Gender Equalities’ yesterday.

She also said that the rate of employment in men dropped from 85.2 to 81.6 per cent, while for women it was stable at about 68.2 per cent.

Charalambous pointed out though that despite the fact that statistics show that the crisis has affected both sexes, gender inequalities usually get worse during a crisis.

“It’s important to continue with our efforts to increase the number of women in employment and the participation of them in the economic and social sphere, as well as policies to help women effectively combine both familial and professional obligations,” said Charalambous.

Speaking at the same conference, MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou said the financial crisis was hitting women much harder than men.

“Women participate less in the market place and since most of them work for the private sector, they are relatively harder-hit by losing jobs due to fiscal cuts,” Papadopoulou said. 

Almost 14 per cent more men than women were employed in Cyprus, according to this year Eurostat’s report on the labour market. 

More worryingly, women earn 22 per cent less than their male counterparts, a figure that is way higher than the EU-27 average of 17.6  per cent.

No EU country had a pay gap skewed in favour of women, according to the statistics. The pay gap “impacts pensions, social protection and yearly benefits,” said Papadopoulou. 

She added that women were more vulnerable to poverty than men, especially single mothers. 

The European Commission has raised concerns that “the achievements in gender equality are at risk and that the effects of the recession will put greater pressure on women,” in its 2010 report on equality between women and men. 

The report said that members states’ national responses to the crisis confirmed that there was a real risk of limiting or cutting gender equality measures. 

More women in Cyprus than men work part-time with 12.7 per cent of women working part-time versus 6.7 per cent of men.

The EU-27 average is much higher for women at 31.9 per cent and slightly higher for men (8.7 per cent). 

When it comes to self-employment the gap widens with 20.4 per cent of men in the workforce declaring they are either self-employed or have employees of their own, with women lagging significantly behind at 9.8 per cent. 

The discrepancy almost matches the EU-27 average. 

Far more women in Cyprus have limited duration contracts (about 21 per cent) than do men (about 7.0 per cent), whereas the EU-27 average is closer to 15  per cent for women and 13  per cent for men. 

In terms of types of employment, the biggest gender gap is that of employment within industries (30.3 per cent for men versus 9.1 per cent for women). 

More women than men are employed in services (87.9 per cent versus 65.1 per cent).  

In Cyprus men are also more likely to hold a job without having been to university or college.

Around 65 per cent of men in the workforce have not completed tertiary education versus 57 per cent of women. 

“It has become plainly obvious in Europe that gender equality has to be promoted across the board in light of its potential for development, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion,” said the head of the European Parliament office in Cyprus, Tasos Georgiou. 

Georgiou said it was disappointing that only four women in Cyprus were running for mayor in the upcoming elections. 

According to Charalambous, equality is an issue that should be given special attention and should also remain unaffected by financial difficulties. She also asserted that during the last few years specialised actions aimed at equality between men and women in employment have been promoted.

“A variety of programmes that were developed or expanded in employment and training due to the economic downturn, benefited women in the same way [as men] if not more,” said Charalambous, citing that through Labour Department projects a high percentage  - 46 per cent – had been hired. 

Other policies put in place to promote equality in the work force is the use of inspectors for gender equality who will investigate complaints, as well as educating organisations and the public on the issue. Charalambous said that the aim is to further protect mothers too especially in cases where women have been made redundant over pregnancy.


(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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