Πέμπτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

The position of women in contemporary Greece


According to liberal ideas, "we live in the society of equal opportunities".
But, does the above sentence apply to the Greek society today?

Calliope aged 67.  Wife, mother and grandmother. She worked half of her years in the family business as “an assisting unpaid family member” while having the exclusive care of the household and her two children. Physically and psychologically abused by her husband who she has never divorced and who abused her and their children. Retired now, receiving hunger retirement. Few social insurance stamps she managed to collect - when she worked before marriage although her boss deliberately paid some social insurance contribution or none. She has been working since she was 14 and now continues to "assist" in the family business of her son. She attended only primary school

Marianna aged 62. Wife, mother and grandmother. Matchmaking married at the age of twenty a ten-year-older "bargain" man according to her relatives. Came out sometime in the labor market by economic necess.ity but the social insurance stamps were not enough to secure a pension. The separated husband does not give her "alimony" nor divorce. Eventually she was forced to work in domestic undeclared work serving a rich elderly. She lives alone, without pension and medical care supported by her children. She has been physically and psychologically abused. She attended only primary school.

Dina aged 40. While working almost twenty years, the social insurance stamps she obtained are disproportionately less than that if took properly. she has worked in many jobs where the remuneration and the stamps were not legitimate under the applicable collective agreements. She has worked in undeclared work with poor pay and part-time because of children. Forced to pay her own stamps in order to get maternity allowance. Because asserted her rights, was not hired again. She is a high school graduate, long-term unemployed and lives in a provincial town.

Charikleia aged 38. Wife and mother of two girls. She got married at the age of twenty and never took her high school diploma. She has the exclusive care of the household and the children because she was not working. She has never worked and never will because the husband prohibits it. Psychologically and physically abused by her husband.

Lia aged 29. It's nearly 30 and the neighborhood has already begun to prepare the rack. The university education does not guarantee a stable job. She is now unemployed due to the closure of the business in which she worked the last four years, undeclared work non-related to her university degree. She lives with her parents in a provincial town.

These brief biographies show that we do not live in the society of equal opportunities and assure that at least one social relationship remains unchanged on the threshold of the 21st century: the unequal relationship between the sexes.

1. In general

According to Pavlakou (1991), the position of women in a society can be identified by their position in law, participation in politics, participation in production and their role within the family.
The massive entry of women into paid work effectively marked the starting point in the struggle for the emancipation and led to structural changes in the economy and the family. Wage work significantly influenced the contemporary everyday lifestyle of women around the world and the Greek women, changing-typically but not fundamentally their social role both in the public and private life. But even today, the organization of institutions and basic social organizations remains consistent with traditional male norms and life models. The woman can take a professional occupation, provided that she organizes her activities in such a way that the daily running of the household is not interrupted. The responsibility of the woman to take care of family members amounts to restricting the growth of the same relationship to the labor market of men. Providing homecare without payment does not establish rights nor is it recognized nor does it have the same value as the participation in paid work. Although more and more women are actively involved in the production, the traditional model of the ideal mother, wife and homemaker has not changed. According also to the report of the United Nations (United Nations, 2000), which attempts to answer the complex issue of the evolution of the position of women worldwide, the results show that despite progress, the gender differences remain. Therefore the real changes in the lives of women at the level of social, economic and political equality and human rights still take a long time to complete.

2. Women and Law

Woman's Life in Greece in the 19th century is undergoing a militant path. The claims mainly concerned the wake of servitude in the emancipation, in recognition of public and private rights. The year - station, however, that changed all the data is in 1917 with the victory of the October Socialist Revolution. The revolutionary government of the Bolsheviks gave full political rights to women, same and equal to men. Within the three years 1917-1920 starts developing the framework for the discussion of the woman issue. Lenin himself would encourage the "ease" of women from the burden of working within the house, so they can participate more actively in public life, and it is true that the wording of the problem of unpaid domestic work has been crucial for the radicalization of emancipatory requests together led to the formulation of the claim of "equal pay for equal work."

In 1930, voting right is given to the Greek women under conditions. a) Only for the municipal elections, b) only to elect, rather than being elected, c) only the literate were entitled to vote, d) only those who were over 30 years old. But in 1930, 70% of women in Greece, over 30 years old were illiterate. It was therefore a pure mockery.

In 1934 women were invited to vote for the first time in municipal elections in which only 240 women voted throughout Greece. For the first time women aged 18 and over voted in elections for the National Council (Political Council of National Liberation, in Greek ΠΕΕΑ), on 23 April 1944. Out of 180 counselors elected at the National Council in Koryschades five were women. In the first resolution of the National Council, Article 5 states: "Together Greeks, men and women have equal political and civil rights." In 1952 the international UN Convention for equal political rights for women and equal access to all public functions was passed, which Greece was forced to comply with. So, in 1952, Law 2159 guarantees the right for women to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, the administration of civil rights in Greek women is not reflected in the Constitution of 1952. The right of universal rights enshrined constitutionally in 1975, in which Article 4 explicitly states that "all Greek men and women are equal before the law and have equal rights and obligations."

In Greece from 1980 until today significant legislative and institutional changes have been made to ensure equality between the sexes and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. For example, in 1982 civil marriage was introduced and the law for adultery was abolished. The review of family law in 1983 abolished the patriarchal family, the institution of dowry and women's obligation to change their surname after marriage. (General Secretariat for Equality, 1995).
Regarding the agricultural sector, enabled the farmer women to join cooperative businesses, comprehensive and independent pension for farmer women was established, maternity allowance granted to the insured in OGA and finally abolished any difference between the two spouses concerning the leadership of the farm, which is uniform within the family.

Moreover, in 1984 the automatic prosecution for rape crimes was established and is punishable as a criminal offense to practice that which offends with lewd gestures and suggestions the dignity of the other.
The main provisions to guarantee labor and social rights of women result from the Law 1414/1984, which relates to employment and occupation, by Law 1302/1982, which concerns the protection of motherhood and by law 1483/1984 which regards to family obligations (Ministry of Labour - Department of Gender, 1985).

However, legislative reforms for the benefit of women not significantly changed the social position of women, which has continued and continues to be characterized by substantial inconsistencies and therefore result in deadlocks. Moreover, the legislative equality in no way does it anticipate nor does it guarantee the equality between the sexes and while typically more equality measures are adopted, their application is not guaranteed.

3. Women and politics

The recognition of the right to vote for women in Greece in 1952, simultaneously meant the recognition and all other civil rights, such as the elimination of inequalities that forbade their entry in the public sector, from which women were excluded for a long time. Even today, the prevailing social perceptions in relation to the social role of women and the very social organization, based on absolute division of labor, contributing to the exclusion of women from politics. For this reason, the participation of women in national parliaments or governments of each country was minimal.

The causes are mainly a combination of socio-economic factors (division of labor), cultural (values ​​and stereotypes), psychological (lack of confidence) and organizational, ie in relation to the existing political institutions and the selection criteria for admission into civilian life. Participation in public life appears to require flexible distribution of working time, which most women do not have because of family commitments and career choices, ie, remunerative work which is not characterized by flexibility.

Finally, the Greek working women face difficulties in developing political action, to be up to date, monitor the press, to take part in long-hour meetings and also be looking after the home and family, while replenishing the various government shortcomings of compulsory education and welfare.

4. Women and the labor market

As mentioned above, the entry of women into the labor market as a result of industrialization and economic needs of the capitalist organization of production, led to legislative guarantee of labor rights of women in the 1980s the issue of equal pay, equal treatment in employment relationships and the protective provisions relating to working women constitute a very small part to all the rules of labor law, as if it were a small group of employees.

The gender gap in employment is higher in the Mediterranean countries (Italy 24.2% and Spain 22.9%), but in Greece is the largest in the European Union (excluding Malta). The same thing happens (with even greater gap) for people aged 55 to 64 years. In Greece this gap is 32.6% versus 17.8% in the EU-27 (all data for 2006, EC 2008).

Various effects may contribute to these gender pay gaps, such as: differences in labour force participation rates, differences in the occupations and activities that tend to be male- or female-dominated, differences in the degrees to which men and women work on a part-time basis, as well as the attitudes of personnel departments within private and public bodies towards career development and unpaid and/or maternity leave. Some underlying factors that may, at least in part, explain gender pay gaps include sectoral and occupational segregation, education and training, awareness and transparency, as well as direct discrimination. Gender pay gaps also reflect other inequalities — in particular, women’s often disproportionate share of family responsibilities and associated difficulties of reconciling work with private life. Many women work part-time or under atypical contracts: although this permits them to remain in the labour market while managing family responsibilities, it can have a negative impact on their pay, career development, promotion prospects and pensions.

The participation rate of women in the Greek labor market, starting in 1980 from a low level and demonstrating sometimes fast and sometimes slower changes, has increased significantly at the end of the quarter of the century. Despite high participation rates, the nature and type of work for men and women differ significantly. Women need to reconcile their work and family obligations, thus their participation in the production is of a complementary nature, as they are hired or expelled depending on the needs of the family and of modern capitalist development. The absorption of women in particular female occupations is a way to create a depressed working class. Women are finally squeezed in jobs and occupations with lower status, lower pay and without outlook, which helps maintain the temporary and occasional nature of their paid employment. The division of responsibilities by gender applied mainly to exclude women from the upper rather than the heavy and unhealthy occupations. Women are extensively absorbed in painful, awkward and poorly paid occupations, such as this of the cleaning lady.

While self-employment, part-time and work from home have expanded women's employment opportunities, jobs this kind are mainly characterized by lack of security, privileges and very low wages (United Nations, 2000). Moreover, women are part of the informal economy of a country much more than men, ie Unpaid “assisting” members of family businesses (United Nations, 2000).

The balance between work and family is an important factor affecting women's labor supply. Everywhere in Europe the proportion of working women with young children is less than that of women without children. The gap between the employment rate of women with children and that of women without children is usually called "punishment of motherhood" and although it is a fact everywhere in Europe, its size varies from country to country. In Greece this gap is 27.2%, while for the EU-27 is 14.4%. The potential involvement of a mother in the labor market is a function of the number and age of children in the household and educational level. As expected, the child's presence in the household markedly reduces the predicted probability of mother to work, a phenomenon exacerbated when there are more children, especially when at least one of them is under 6 years old.

Women tend to earn less than men and accumulate less income from work during their working lives. Motherhood plays an important role in this phenomenon. The obligations of women towards their children largely explain that their earnings are lower and this because: women with children often do not work (limited participation in the labor market), even when they work, they tend to be employed for fewer hours usually receive lower wages than men. These gender differences operate simultaneously, thereby widening the wage gap between men and women in the course of the life cycle. According to data available NSS for 2000, average hourly wages of women amount to 76.2% of men's wages.

During the economic crisis, women compared to men workers are marginalized and dismissed easier and are driven largely to unemployment. Specifically, according to a survey of the Greek Statistical Authority, unemployment among women reached 31.4% compared with the figure of 30.2% last September, but remains considerably higher than that of men (24.5% from 22.9%). Meanwhile, female unemployment is not only fueled by layoffs, and very large numbers of women, between the ages of 30, 40 and 50, previously not looking for work, joined the market to boost the dwindling family income, and many of them eventually joined in armies of unemployed.

Finally, in Greece despite the massive entry of women into the labor market and the overthrow of patriarchal structures of society, the overall situation of women are particularly disadvantaged in comparison with that of men. In particular, women work less than men, female unemployment is much higher than this of men; women are at much higher risk of the phenomenon of long-term unemployment, while preferred in flexible 'jobs', such as part-time and temporary employment. At the same time, women continue to work in low-skilled jobs, are underrepresented in high-skilled jobs and in decision-making, while they are covering a large proportion of jobs in the informal economy. Indicatively, approximately half a million women in Greece (along with several hundred thousand immigrants) is working in conditions that are beyond statistics, taxation and legislation, ie work or temporary work, or work in small businesses (most of which are family ones) or work undeclared. This category includes the majority of immigrants mainly engaged as domestic workers and auxiliary nurses, whereas in the case of work for a family business women are officially characterized as "Unpaid family members."

5. Women and education

Although the gender gap in primary and secondary education has virtually ben eliminated, 2/3 of the world's illiterates are women (United Nations, 2000). In Greece although a balance is observed in the proportion of boys and girls during compulsory education, there has been an increase in women's participation in university education. But the educational choices of women remain "social determined" by entrenched perceptions of different occupational gender roles. While the whole of Greek society considers higher education necessary for both sexes, the educational system seems to reproduce the dominant race relations, directing women in traditional roles and typically female occupations. Thus, the type of study chosen by women, the percentage of women in the labor market and the type of work they perform negate the optimistic view of the statistics for women participation in education overall. Women after the end of higher education face a reality, into which are divided between traditional expectations of the social environment for women's role and personal career aspirations. Finally, it is confirmed that the key role of women in the private sphere of family and job search after their studies is neither direct nor compulsory, as the model of man - breadwinner applies even in traditional Greek family.

6. Women and family

In Greece the survival of traditional structures worked for years as a powerful substitute of state social benefits. As a result of the lack of social benefits, women often interrupt their work to support the family. The woman is forced into a "compulsory altruism" as alternatives to work, social security, etc. are either absent or insufficient.

Under the Greek family, role specialization of men and women served for years to maintain the patriarchal family, which was in legislative force until 1983. The legislation, the labor market and the formal education system reinforce the distinction of roles in male and female, thus reproducing the family identification of Greek women.

Until today, the Greek housewife is a person totally dependent on a man who provides shelter, food, clothing, insurance and transfers his pension. The non-working mother is treated with indifference, because the work she produces is considered private affairs without broader social interest or importance. The main problem encountered is social isolation, particularly in large urban centers. Anxious to discover a new identity, women are usually divided between the traditional model of female supply experienced by their mothers and the satisfaction of personal needs. This deadlock frequently leads to employment and undertaking of additional responsibilities. The working mother coldly and mechanically treated as an unprofitable employee who must adapt to a given occupational status, just as a man. The multiple roles accumulation requires a pace that does not allow her to seamlessly meet the personal needs and to creatively utilize the spare time. The combination of traditional "female" tasks with the obligations of wage labor has resulted even in overwork in physical and psychological terms, a combination which isolates the wife of sociopolitical activities that would enrich her personality and her creativity.

The participation of men in the division of domestic work vary and is basically influenced by individual characteristics (eg age), but also on social (education, employment status and job characteristics). It has been observed that the more the skills of a partner, the greater the participation in daily household activities. Despite the above, in general, the help from spouses or partners is insignificant. Compared to those men who help, women spend six times more time daily on housework and three times more time on child care.

7. Forms of gender-based violence

A. Domestic Violence

Social values ​​and perceptions about the strength and the protective role of the family make difficult the assumption that the Greek family is vulnerable to issues of violence and abuse against women. The size of the problem cannot be determined objectively because it is a hidden most of the time crime. Violence is induced from husbands or male partners. It includes physical violence, psychological abuse, rape acts and other types of sexual compulsions as well as various controlling behaviors such as isolation from the family and/or friend/s or limited access to information and support. A number of studies show that although women - victims come from all socio-economic groups, women from low socio-economic groups are more vulnerable. Typically they are housewives and mothers, economically dependent and with low level of education.

"The man is a man, huh! He will give a slap in the face". From the previous sentence, which all of us have heard, it seems that violence in the Greek family is socially tolerated. It is not welcomed, but it is not considered a crime either. It is treated as a private matter of the couple.

B. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based violence affecting human dignity and the principle of equal treatment between men and women. It is particularly frequent and direct sex discrimination between men and women in the workplace, which is fed by social tolerance and maintained by the prevailing stereotypes about the position of women in employment. It has personal, social and economic consequences for women. It is an obstacle and a threat to their autonomy, and often pushes them outside paid work. The negative effects extend from mental and physical health to self-confidence and advancement in the career ladder.

For Greece surveys show that 70-86% of women of women being harassed in the private sector either resign or are dismissed. In the public sector the rule is that women are displaced from positions where they worked initially. In contrast, the one who breaks the law remains in place, which is usually a managerial one.

C. Rape

In Greece, out of 100 rape cases only 10-15% of them are reported to the police. Of these only half are solved and only half of the perpetrators ultimately get convicted. This corresponds to a sentence of 3 to 4% of rapists.

The woman raped instead of finding sympathy and help, is often viewed critically and with distrust. She is being often in a position to have to justify the length of her skirt, her behavior, what time she is returning alone on the road or the fact that she did not resist enough. In short, the woman victim to really be considered a victim must prove her "impeccable moral". Otherwise, she is treated as the one who provoked the offender. And if she “provoked” him, the responsibility for the rape is attributed to her while the offender is considered justified. This is the perception of a large section of Greek society for rape, which in 46% yields crime in the provocative behavior of women. The so-called "provocation" seems however not to play a role in any other crime. And in no other crime are attributed as heavy responsibilities to the victim as in the case of rape. Rape, however, is a crime in most cases not by a stranger. 70% of rapists are (according to a research by “Eleftherotypia” newspaper) in family or friendly surroundings of the woman. Often in these cases that the victim knew the offender that she may have behaved or dressed "provocatively" is considered a defense element of the accused.

D. Trafficking

According to the definition provided by the Palermo Protocol, trafficking is the trade-human trafficking for the purpose of unpaid labor, sexual exploitation and putting together a new type of slavery. Greece is a transit and a destination country for trafficking victims mainly from Eastern and Southeastern Europe but also from Africa and Asia. It affects mainly women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation, although not exclusively. On May 16, 2005, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was signed in Warsaw and was approved just last year from Greece to law N4216-13 as published in the Government Gazette. The problem that still remains, however, is implementation. Indicative in many cases is the fact that human trafficking outpaces gains of trafficking of arms or drugs.

8. Abortion

In Greece, abortion is permitted under certain conditions. The Penal Code Article 304 allows abortion (artificial termination of pregnancy) only with the consent of the pregnant woman and only by doctor obstetrician - gynecologist involving an anesthesiologist in an organized nursing unit in the following cases: 1) Within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in each case. 2) Within the first 24 weeks, if there is evidence of severe fetal abnormality induced birth abnormal newborn. 3) Within the first 19 weeks if the pregnancy is the result of rape, seduction underage, incest or abuse woman incompetent to resist. 4) Without a time limit, if there is inescapable risk to life of the pregnant woman or a risk of serious and lasting harm to the physical or mental health, witnessed by a corresponding doctor (in this case the term "abortion" is used to break that occurs before the 24th week ). Also in this category falls the case of abortion fetus with proven serious malfunctioning.

Opponents of abortion even put the rights of unborn life, a life which has neither formed nor has it consciousness, over women's rights. The woman is not a separate person, but simply a bearer of a "child", just a duplicating machine. This logic is not new. From the early 19th century, when the first contraceptive methods were discovered, abortion was called a crime by "decent" bourgeois. Now that the right of self-determination of the woman is legally subdued in most countries in the developed world, the argument becomes more "humanitarian". However humanitarian is considered only for the fetus, not for the woman. They did not hesitate to characterize the woman as a criminal and a murderer, to intimidate and to create guilt, simply because she decided for herself and her life.

REFERENCES

1. Extract from the doctoral thesis "Young women with a university education and the reconciliation of private and public sphere in the design of his adult life," Christina Athanasiadou, Department of Psychology University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, 2002.  
2. GREEK LABOUR MARKET: CHARACTERISTICS, DEVELOPMENTS AND CHALLENGES, "Women and employment: review and prospects' Antigone Lyberaki and Plato from Tinos, Bank of Greece, in March 2010.
3. Programme Sudan Gender equality, B. The female employment in Greece, Ellen Nina Pazarzi, Assoc. Professor of Sociology, University of Piraeus, Athens 2004. 
4. Abortion, Wikipedia.       
5. What gender? texts on the woman question, Movement "Deport Racism". The woman question nowadays, Helen Mitsou
6. MANUAL ADVISORY FOR WORKERS, employers & SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, General Secretariat for Gender Equality, Athens, December 2011
7. Eurostat