Cyprus’ president obligates ministers to sign a ‘zero tolerance’ of sexual harassment declaration

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ president on Friday obligated all government ministers to sign a declaration affirming a “zero-tolerance” policy on all sexist attitudes and behavior, as well as any form of sexual harassment among employees and anyone visiting a government office.

Cyprus already has stringent legislation against sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace, but it’s the first time that ministers had to sign such a declaration in what Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides called an “institutional commitment” to eliminating such behavior in government.

Cyprus ranks a lowly 22nd in the European Union in terms of gender equality, scoring 57.3 out of 100, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality.

All ministers, deputy ministers and commissioners signed the declaration during a ceremony at the presidential palace.

Christodoulides said that he “calls on and expects” all his subordinates to tangibly implement the declaration.

“Through our behavior, our stance and approach, it is us who must first and foremost stand as an example,” Christodoulides said.

A father of four daughters, Christodoulides has made gender equality a key policy objective for his nearly year-old administration. He said his government is already working to “dismantle whichever gender bias discrimination that takes us years back.”

Cyprus’ Gender Equality Commissioner Josie Christodoulou said that the declaration formally embeds the issue of gender in all levels of government.

“The ultimate goal is to create an environment allowing for a healthy society and economy, equal for all,” Christodoulou said.

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