Gender Equality in Greece:
are we there yet?
LADIES DIARY OF CHANGE - active ladies in
peace dialogue
Hara Kouki, ELIAMEP
Athens, Greece
Gender Equality
Male public space, labour, politics
Female  private sphere, family, house
=Gender Roles Socially Constructed
• Not a reality:
we can change this situation
• Not only personal,
collective: it is about all of us
France, 18th century
 French Revolution: Declaration of the Rights of Man
and of the Citizen (1791): challenge what was taken for
normal, institutions and morals
 Olympiad de Gouges:
Declaration of the Rights of Woman
and of the Woman Citizen (1791)
Women must have equal rights with Men
Britain, early 20th century
 Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own (1926)
‘men socially and psychically dominate
women...women are simultaneously
victims of themselves
as well as victims of men and are
upholders of society by acting as mirrors
to men...a woman must have money
and a room of her own’
Greece at a Glance
Population of 11 million
1900-1974: Wars, Dictatorship, Refugees...
 1821: Greek War of Independence
 1830: independent Greek Kingdom
 1922: 1.5 million refugees from Minor Asia
 1946-49: civil war
 1967-1974: military dictatorship
 1974 and then: Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
 1981: European Union Member/ currency euro (2001)
Women in Greece: 1900-1950
1.Katerina,
born in 1930
(82 years old)
 Daily Life: Born,
raised and lived all
her life in a small
village- visited only
few times a big city,
Athens
 Work: working all day until her
70s in the fields (agriculture)
with her husband- but this was
not considered as work/
running the family’s home:
preparing food, cleaning the
house/ clothes, raising 10
children, caring for her old
parents and parents-in-law- but
this was not considered as work
 Education: 4 years of primary
education, but after some years
she forgot how to write, she
could read, but never read
newspapers
1. Women in Greece
1900 -1950
 Education:
for women (primary), good housewives
for men (universities), good citizens
 1919: 392 Women in Universities out of 30.000
 Employment women start working
as maids in cities/ workers in industries/ teachers for
girls- situation very bad (timetable/ wages)
1. Women’s Movement in Greece
1900-1950
 Women refugees + against Nazi occupation/ during
Civil war  different role in society + financial needs
 Committee for the Rights of Woman (1923-36):
citizenship rights
 1928: first public
assembly for the
women’s right to vote
• 1936: vote only for
municipal elections
1. Women’s Movement in the World,
1900- 1950
•Women started working
outside home
•Women started asking for
the right to vote and
political equality
-Australia: 1902 -Finland: 1906
-United Kingdom: 1918
-United States: 1920 -France: 1944
-Iraq: 1980
2. Women in Greece, 1950-1980
2. Eleni,
born in
1960
52 years old
2. Women in Greece, 1950-1980
 1954: Right to Vote
 1961: First Woman Member of Parliament,
 1964: 135 women Municipal council
members
 1967-1974: Women fight against
Dictatorship
2. Women in Greece, 1950-1980
 1975 Constitution:
All Greeks,
men and women,
are equal before the Law
and have equal rights
and obligations
 1981: 20 women in Parliament
 1982: 1.113 women Municipal members (300% up)
 Work: less in agriculture, more in cities working
 Education: 39% in high schools, 28% in Universities
2. Women in Greece, 1950-1980
2. Eleni, born in 1960 (52 years old)
 Daily Life
 Born in the village – studied (University) in Athens.
 She met her husband (engineer) at the University, they got




married and they have 2 daughters
They live in Athens.
She likes going to the theatre
She has travelled in other countries
more than 15 times
She reads the newspapers
 Education: She has a
university degree in
Education. She speaks
French.
 Work: Teacher in public
primary school housewife. Stopped
working for 8 years to
raise her kids.
 Politics: She is
interested-votes
differently than her
husband
2. Women in Greece,
1950-1980
Eleni, born in 1960
2. Women’s Movement in Greece,
1950-1980
Still men are prepared to work and be leaders in public life
and women are educated, but are mainly responsible for the
family/house (good housewives) depending on the
husband 
 Radical Women’s associations and feminist groups/
magazines- events
 Demands for equal treatment in public life, law,
workplace, family and fighting against violence and for
sexuality 
Women’s Movement
in the World, 1950-1980
Personal is Political
Private is Public
 (Not JUST) The right to vote
 The right to receive an equal wage
 The right to be represented in political and institutions
 The right to speak your mind, instead of being dismissed
because you are a woman
 The right to financial independence
 The right to choose your path in life
The Half is Yours, 1977
Women in Public Administration, 1982
Feminist Magazine, The Cleaning Lady, 1978
3. Women in Greece,
1980-2010
Margarita,
born in 1990
22 years old
3. Women in Greece in Law:
1980-2010
 1981: Greece member of European Union
 1983-2010: national and European laws
family (end of patriarchy, husband and wife
equal),
education
employment (same wages for same labour, a
pregnant woman cannot be fired)
social security (maternity leave)
 2003: positive actions for gender equality
3. Women in practice:1980-2010
 Education:
in high school 50% girls
in University more women than men!
 Work:
39% of total labour force
 50% of women work,
 75% of women with children work
 Politics:
more women in parliament
many more in municipalities
3. Movements for Gender Equality in the World
1980-2010
• European
+Global:
EuropeanWomen’s Lobby/
World March for Women
International/ Women in
Black
•National: Migrants
associations, Groups against
Trafficking, against
Unemployment
•Network/ solidarity
3. Women in Greece: 1980-2010
Margarita, born in 1990, 22 years old
 Daily Life
Born in Athens,
Speaks French and English
Studies Media in Thessaloniki
Lives alone
Erasmus student in Barcelona now
Interested in Politics
Likes Travelling
3. Women in Greece: 1980-2010
 How do you think Margarita
will be in her 40s? Married
with children or well known
journalist? Or both?
 Are women equal to men today?
Do women have problems even
if laws are there? What do you
think?
a. Women in politics today
Increase of female elected members of
Parliament and municipalities
 Women in the Greek Parliament: 10% 15%, low by European standards (22.5%)
 23% in media
Not present in decision making
processes/ in how men and women are
represented !
Is there
something
missing?
...it is
missing!!
Why there are few women in positions of
responsibility?
 they are not interested?
 women are less ready than men to fight to make a career?
 women have less time because of their family?
 work environment is dominated by men who do not
trust women?
 women do not always have the required qualities to
hold positions of responsibility?
b. Women in Education Today
 very high percentage of women who
pursue higher education
 but still 75-85% in arts and humanities
and 15-25% in technical and
engineering
Male and female studies/
professions!
 Work is as important for men as for
women?
 Which professions are for men and which
are for women?
 What kind of skills do you need in order
to become politician?
 Women have other skills than men?
c. Women at Work today
 Jobs: with little power or responsibility
 Wages: lower than men’s
 Family and Career: stop working when they have
children, less responsibilities/ wages when backinflexible timetables
 Unemployed: 65% women
 Household: spent 38 hours a week on house
work (men 9 hours a week)
 Women Migrants: in worse position of all
Can women have both
family and career?
 women are forced to choose between having
children and working
 women can combine working and having
children
Glass ceiling
-not only in Greece)
Transparent Wall in
work that obstructs
women from
developing their skills
Glass ceiling: How?
 stereotypes in society
(women work, men make a career)
 other expectations from parents (my son will
be a lawyer, my daughter will become a teacher, but the
important is to have a family)
 not good education and professional
orientation (girls are good in humanities and arts,
boys are better in physics and engineering subjects)
 sexual harassment
Glass ceiling: How?
 unjust selection of employees
(she will stay pregnant, so it’s better to hire a man)
 discriminations
(the man will be better in deciding)
 difficult when family
(abandon the job to have time
for the baby, inflexible timetables)
 different wages
What can we do?
Professional orientation at school
Planning + hard work + strong minded
Equal Opportunities Policies
Collective mobilization and networking (women’s
groups/ trade unions)
Flexible work conditions
Media awareness
Are we there yet?
• Change in law is not
enough 
• Change in
mentalities both of men
and women is needed
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Gender Equality in Greece: are we there yet?