“Three hundred years! That’s the time it takes, at the rate we are going today, until gender equality will be achieved worldwide, according to the UN’s women’s organisation,” say organisers of the 3rd Femme Fest Cyprus, coming up on May 18 and 19 in Nicosia.

“Despite the steps forward,” they add, “even today gender-based inequalities can be spotted with the naked eye. This issue also affects our country as Cyprus, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual report (2023), is ranked 106th out of 146 countries, 13 places below the previous year. We therefore need to take measures, not only with laws and policies but also with actions that contribute to the cultivation of gender awareness.”

One way to take action is with the organisation of the festival which will transform the Nicosia Municipal Gardens into an inclusive and fruitful ground to host discussions, address gender issues and give a platform to women from all walks of life.

The third edition of the festival, organised by the Women’s Movement POGO is supported by the Office of the Gender Equality Commissioner and the National Women’s Rights Mechanism and is hosted by the Nicosia municipality. Throughout the two days of the event, discussions on women’s reproductive rights, sex education, women’s professional advancement and the impact of wars on women will be held, among other topics. A series of workshops on gender violence, gender stereotypes and social roles, obstetric violence, menopause will also take place.

Across the Gardens, more than 50 organisations (universities, NGOs and institutions that deal with gender issues) will present their work while on the main stage, the Women Who Inspire Us activity will take place where women from different sectors, such as culture, activism, LGBT community, will share their personal experiences.

Also part of the festival’s actions are thematic centres where visitors will be able to get to know women from Cyprus and the world, learn about the history of women’s rights, and highlight the issue of femicide. Aiming to gather people of all genders, backgrounds and ages, a children’s corner will also be set up with theatre workshops, book reading, games and crafts with a gender perspective. Adding a more entertaining element to the festival will be a food and drinks corner as well as live performances.

On May 18 Anerades will present a tribute titled The Woman in Rembetiko, while on May 19, the Femme Fest Street Party will fill the Gardens with music and celebrations.

3rd Femme Fest Cyprus

Festival with discussions, workshops, events and kiosks on women issues. May 18-19. Nicosia Municipal Gardens, Nicosia. 4.30pm-11pm. Free. www.femmefestcy.com

(Cyprus Mail)