“Enosis ton Ellinidon” The First Greek Women’s Union in Cyprus
#InspirationalFriday – Until recently, women’s contribution to society was limited and they were not treated as equals. Strict expectations of women’s chastity prevailed, and were strongly discouraged from owning a business and had limited rights compared to men. Women around the world have achieved a lot to gain equality. In Limassol, the first point of change in Cyprus, in March 1898, the first women’s union was created with the name “Enosis ton Ellinidon”. Already existing in Greece, the union was established in Cyprus as well, to inaugurate the new era of women’s rights, influence and inspire them. A great personality of the Cypriot Union was Polixeni Loizias, an educator, author and human rights activist.
The purpose of “Enosis ton Ellinidon” was not just the empowerment of women, or the establishment of an important role of the women in Cypriot society but also the promotion of local products, like potteries, embroideries, silk and cotton fabrics etc. During a time of oppression under the British Government, women of Limassol vowed to build an organisation with notions of feminism, aiming at educating women. This movement followed the release of the first newspaper addressing women specifically, named “Efimeris ton Kirion”, with the purpose to inspire and educate the Cypriot female audience.
The revolutionary newspaper was firstly published on the 8th of March 1887 and it was very successful among women. 30 years later “Efimeris ton Kirion” had to termermine its publication due to the vagrant political climate in November 1917. Even on our small island, women have successfully gained their emancipation, demanding trust, respect, appreciation and equal rights. Limassol played a significant role in this evolution, supporting women who wanted to have their own voice in the closed society of Cyprus. This is why House of Lontos pays respect to these pioneers, who in an era when women’s rights were disregarded, raised their voice against the system.