The need to combat sexism and discrimination between genders which constitute de facto violations of human rights and fundamental liberties has led to the voting of the Law on Combatting Sexism and Sexism Spreading via Internet and Relevant Matters 2020 (‘the Law’), published on 28/12/2020.
The purpose of the legislator, amongst other, is eradication, to the degree possible, of incidents involving sexism and gender stereotypes in Cypriot society, in order to establish a framework of security and equal opportunity between genders in education, the job market, professional development and promotion, as well as the assumption of executive positions in all sectors.
Consequently, as determined in the Law, sexism consists of any public or private sexist behavior against a person or group of persons, and includes any action, gesture, representation, practice, written or verbal communication based on the idea or belief a person or group of persons are inferior because of their gender which aim to:
The surge of incidents of sexism involving internet attacks, which prevent victims from freely expressing their views and lead to withdrawal of such victims from the internet, while constituting a violation of freedom of speech in the context of a democratic society, led to the criminalisation of sexism which registers on computer networks.
Under the Law, intentional sexism and internet-spreading sexism constitute criminal offences, and upon successful conviction result in custodial sentence up to 1 year or a fine up to €5.000 or both. Criminal liability not only rests with physical persons but also with legal persons governed by private law for both the offenses of intentional sexism and internet-spreading sexism, where the physical person who perpetrates the offence is part of the administrative body or holds a senior managerial position in that body on account of:
Conviction of the legal person may bring a financial penalty up to €5.000 and the court may additionally impose the following sanctions to the legal person for the duration determined in the judgment:
In addition to sexism in the realm of legal persons governed by public law, similar initiatives are taken by the office of Gender Equality Commissioner in public administration. An example of such initiative includes the issuing of linguistic sexism in public and administration documents.