The Invisible Women of Cyprus: A Spotlight on Erased Histories highlights the historical oversight of women’s contributions in Cyprus, with official records typically portraying women only as mothers of heroes or widows of war. Educator Georgia Spanou aims to rectify this by showcasing inspiring female pioneers in her book ‘Cypriot Women Who Inspire’, which seeks to challenge stereotypes and promote inclusivity.
Why are women’s contributions historically overlooked in Cyprus?
In Cyprus, women’s historic contributions have been largely overlooked due to a male-dominated narrative in official records, which typically feature women only as mothers of heroes or widows of war. Efforts by educators like Georgia Spanou highlight women’s roles, with her book ‘Cypriot Women Who Inspire’ showcasing inspiring female pioneers who have been absent from school history books.
The Overlooked Half of History
Mothers of heroes, widows of war: these are the only women who appear in Cyprus’ history books, according to one expert. ALIX NORMAN asks why 50 percent of our population has been erased from the records. Cyprus might not rank high on the EU Gender Equality Index, but it’s clear that women have played pivotal roles throughout the island’s history. Despite being the cradle of rich culture and tradition, the official recordings seem to show a skewed perspective, largely omitting the contributions of countless women.
Cyprus’ Gender Equality: A Work In Progress
While Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark boast high scores on the EU Gender Equality Index, Cyprus lags, scoring a modest 57 out of a possible 100 points. This puts the island nation 23rd out of 28 EU member states. Yet, it’s important to recognize the progress made since 2010, with Cyprus climbing six places and adding eight points to its score.
Unearthing the Forgotten: The Work of Georgia Spanou
Georgia Spanou, a well-educated adjunct university professor and museum educator, has been connecting the dots of Cypriot history, revealing the gaps left by a male-dominated narrative. She argues that the enlightenment and modern ideas have found their way to Cyprus in a limited and delayed fashion. Her recent book, ‘Κύπριες Γυναίκες που Εμπνέουν’ (Cypriot Women Who Inspire), showcases three trailblazing women: Polyxeni Loizias, Loukia Nikolaidou, and Domnitsa Lanitou, whose stories have been largely untold.
The Pioneers: Polyxeni Loizias, Loukia Nikolaidou, and Domnitsa Lanitou
These three women shattered barriers and paved the way for future generations. Polyxeni Loizias, deemed Cyprus’ original feminist, championed women’s rights through her pioneering newspaper. Loukia Nikolaidou, a leading figure in modern art, was the first Cypriot woman to study Fine Arts in France. Domnitsa Lanitou made her mark by being the first Cypriot woman to compete in the Olympic Games. Their legacies, and those of many other women, have been largely absent from the history taught in schools.
Educational Reforms and Women Who Inspire
Georgia Spanou points out a stark absence of substantial references to women and their societal roles in school textbooks. The narratives that are included often limit women to their relationships with men. ‘Women Who Inspire’ is not just for children; it offers eye-opening insights for readers of all ages. It includes activities designed by primary school teachers Andri Theodolou and Georgia Solomou to foster resilience and personal development. The book is a tool for challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity, aiming to cultivate a generation that values gender equality.
A Beacon of Inspiration
Georgia acknowledges that the journey to equality is fraught with challenges. The stories of these pioneering women embody perseverance and commitment to change. By sharing these narratives, ‘Women Who Inspire’ aims to foster a society where each individual can reach their full potential, regardless of gender. It’s a step toward a more inclusive and just Cyprus, reminding us that positive change is possible.
Availability and Presentation
Κύπριες Γυναίκες που Εμπνέουν (Cypriot Women Who Inspire) is available in Greek from all good bookshops. A public presentation of the book will take place at Lanitio Theatre in Limassol on November 20. The publication was funded by Medochemie.
The Journey to Space and Technology: Larnaca Biennale’s Grand Finale
A Fusion of Art and Science
It’s Space & Technology Week at Larnaca Biennale, marking the final themed week with an array of events that promise to take visitors on a cosmic journey. From immersive VR experiences to performances under an impressive moon installation, the week is designed to blend art with the vast expanse of space and the future of technology.
Stellar Entanglement: A Cinematic Experience
Youth Makerspace Larnaka is hosting ‘Stellar Entanglement,’ a Cinematic VR 360 experience. This gripping 10-minute film, part of a looped viewing, unveils the tale of a distant, doomed planet and the quest for immortality. It’s a story that interlaces star evolution, quantum entanglement, and profound philosophical questions.
Museum of the Moon: Lunar Artistry
The enchanting ‘Museum of the Moon’ installation by UK artist Luke Jerram arrives in Zouhouri Square for a week. Local musician Nama Dama adds to the celestial ambiance with a live performance on the opening night. A series of lunar-inspired events will unfold, ranging from art performances to dance.
Threads on Home: Bridging Innovations
The ‘Threads on Home’ lecture series continues with Dr. Nir Tsuk, a pioneer in social capital and innovation culture. Taking place at the Living Room, this session, in English, is open for all and aims to connect the dots between our homes and the technology shaping our future.
Wrapping Up the Biennale
As the Biennale draws to a close, the final week presents a last chance to explore the main and parallel exhibitions. With more events throughout Larnaca and Athienou, the Biennale promises a thought-provoking conclusion to its 2023 edition.
Cinematic VR 360 experience. November 13. Youth Makerspace Larnaka. 10am-6pm. Free. In English. Registrations: www.biennalelarnaca.com
Museum of the Moon
Opening night with live performance by Nama Dama. November 13. Zouhouri Square, Larnaca. 7.30pm. Free www.onceinabluemoon.eu
Threads on Home
Lecture with Dr. Nir Tsuk. November 14. The Living Room, Larnaca. 7pm. In English. Free. Register at www.biennalelarnaca.com
- Women’s contributions in Cyprus have historically been overlooked, with official records portraying them only as mothers of heroes or widows of war.
- Educator Georgia Spanou aims to rectify this by showcasing inspiring female pioneers in her book ‘Cypriot Women Who Inspire’.
- Cyprus ranks 23rd out of 28 EU member states on the EU Gender Equality Index, scoring a modest 57 out of 100 points.
- Georgia Spanou’s book highlights the gaps in Cypriot history left by a male-dominated narrative.
- Polyxeni Loizias, Loukia Nikolaidou, and Domnitsa Lanitou are three pioneering women who have been largely absent from school history books.
- The book ‘Cypriot Women Who Inspire’ challenges stereotypes and promotes inclusivity.
- The Larnaca Biennale’s final themed week is Space & Technology Week, blending art with space and technology.
- ‘Stellar Entanglement’ is a cinematic VR 360 experience that tells the tale of a distant, doomed planet and the quest for immortality.
- The ‘Museum of the Moon’ installation by artist Luke Jerram arrives in Zouhouri Square, accompanied by lunar-inspired events.
- The ‘Threads on Home’ lecture series connects the dots between our homes and the technology shaping our future.
- The Biennale presents a thought-provoking conclusion to its 2023 edition with exhibitions and events throughout Larnaca and Athienou.