Comprehensive information on recent legislative and political developments in favour of gender equality in Greece (Athens, June 2019)

Jun 10, 2019




Here is a comprehensive information note on the most recent legislative and political developments in favour of equality between women and men in Greece. The detailed contribution is composed of three distinctive parts.


Part One

“A new legislation by the Greek Government on substantive gender equality and SGBV (Athens, March 2019)”


On 26-3-2019 the new law number 4604 initiated by the Ministry of Interior was published in the Official Journal of the Hellenic Republic. Its first part (articles 1-30) is dedicated to the issues of substantive gender equality and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV):Ν.4604-για-την-Ουσιαστική-Ισότητα-των-Φύλων.pdf .


Its basic characteristics are summarized as following:


1) The specific law constitutes an integral legal framework on gender equality and elimination of discriminations against women. Female gender is not treated as a “special category” or a “vulnerable group” and all its provisions are in accordance with the Constitution, EU Directives, international Conventions ratified by the Greek State, as well as Greek family law, labour law and social security law.


2) All basic notions, mechanisms, institutions and stakeholders are explicitly clarified aiming at the implementation of the principle of equal treatment of sexes, gender mainstreaming and the formulation of a network of permanent structures all over the country for the prevention and elimination of violence against women.


3) The panhellenic SGBV network by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality and the Municipalities is institutionalized (Counseling Centers, Hostels, a 24-hour SOS 15900 hotline).


4) Public and private enterprises are encouraged to draft and implement “Equality Plans” with specific targets, strategies and practices and the General Secretariat for Gender Equality of the Ministry of Interior can award “Equality Labels” to them as a reward for their engagement in favor of equal treatment and equal opportunities for their male and female employees.


5) The use of gender-neutral language in official documents is incorporated as a distinctive task of the public administration. Greek language, like a number of other European languages (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish), is characterized by the use of male and female nouns and adjectives. The tendency has been to use the male noun collectively when we refer to both sexes, despite the fact that this practice clearly implies gender discrimination. For example, in English there is the word “students” for both boys and girls, but in Greek there is the word “μαθητές” for boys and “μαθήτριες” for girls.


6) The system of quota 40% in favour of women is institutionalized for the lists of candidates in each electoral prefecture at the parliamentary elections. This is a clear measure for women’s empowerment in political decision-making. It is noted that the same increased quota has already been in practice for the elections for Local Authorities (Regions and Municipalities). Furthermore, the absence of quota system in the composition of Councils of the Public Administration arouses legal penalties.


7) An Autonomous Equality Office is established in each of the 13 Regions of the country, the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and the Union of Greek Regions, while the Municipal and the Regional Equality Committees are upgraded.


8) Special provisions have been put in place in the crucial field of education (primary, secondary and tertiary education) aiming at the elimination of gender stereotypes and the advancement of healthy attitudes for the future citizens of the country.


9) In addition, the principle of gender mainstreaming is set in the fields of health and social solidarity (e.g. special attention to the status and the needs of vulnerable groups of women), while a special leave of seven working days is attributed to female employees who attend prescribed programs of medically supported fertility.


10) In the fields of mass media and advertisement special provisions are activated against gender stereotypes and discriminations.


Part Two

“The gender aspect of the Greek candidates at the European Elections 2019”


Here is the gender aspect of the candidates for the 21 seats for Greece at the European Parliament in the framework of the European Elections, which took place in Greece on the 26th of May, 2019.


According to the Decision 65/2019 by the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece (“Areios Pagos”: ), forty (40) political parties and unions of parties were entitled to participate at the European Elections.


The candidates were 1.195 in total. The male candidates were 685 (57.3%) and the female candidates were 510 (42.7%).


Furthermore, it is noted that


– in 17 parties the percentage of female candidates was 40%


– in 13 parties the percentage of female candidates was 41%-45%


– in 6 parties the percentage of female candidates was 46%-49%


– in 2 parties the percentage of female candidates was 50%


– in 2 parties the percentage of female candidates was above 50%.


It is also underlined that the Greek legislation imposes the system of gender quota for the candidates at all electoral procedures (national, regional, municipal and European elections); the minimum percentage has been set to 40%. In the European Elections in May 2014 the percentage was 30%.


Part Three

The female identity at the results of the European and local administration elections in Greece (26/5 and 2/6/2019)”


On Sunday 26-5-2019 the elections for the 21 seats of Greece at the European Parliament, as well as the first round of the elections for the 13 Regions and the 331 Municipalities of the country took place. The second round of the regional and the municipal elections took place on Sunday 2-6-2019 (the new session of leadership at the Regions and the Municipalities will start on 1-9-2019).


As far as the gender aspect of the results is concerned, here is a clear picture of its gender gap:


1) EP Elections: five female MEPs (percentage 23.8%);


2) Regional Elections: one female Governor of the Region of Ionian Islands;


3) Municipal Elections: sixteen female Mayors out of 128 female candidates for Mayoralty.


The results of these elections have also influenced the central political scene of Greece (for sure, not their gender gap); a national parliamentary election (300 seats at the Hellenic Parliament) is scheduled to take place on Sunday 7-7-2019, that is three months earlier than the constitutional regulation.


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