Feature: Greece has made strides in gender equality, more needs to be done

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-08 22:48:01|Editor: mingmei
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Marina Omar, officer at the marketing department of Piraeus Containers Terminal S.A. (PCT S.A), a China's COSCO Shipping subsidiary, poses for photo before interview with Xinhua on March 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Yu Shuaishuai)

by Maria Spiliopoulou, Yu Shuaishuai

ATHENS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Greece has made strides in gender equality in the past few decades, but much more needs to be done, experts, political leaders and ordinary working women said on the occasion of the International Women's Day marked on Friday.

Women in Greece in 2017 got salaries on average 19.7 percent lower than that for men and according to 2018 data only 9.5 percent held positions in companies' board of directors, according to an e-mailed European Commission report on equality between women and men in the EU released this week.

Greek women also remain underrepresented in politics. Women currently hold only 18.3 percent of seats in the Greek parliament, the report noted.

"We need more women in politics, more women in relevant positions as well in business," European Parliament(EP) President Antonio Tajani told an EP Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on Thursday.

"March 8, International Women's Day reminds us that the struggle for real equality is constant and concerns us all," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted, as he welcomed women from various professions and social groups to his office on Friday.

Meanwhile, for first time a feminist strike and rally was held in the centre of Athens, organized by feminist groups and supported by political parties and labor unions.

Protesters shouted that women comprise the majority of the jobless and the victims of gender violence.

According to the latest figures from Greece's statistical authority ELSTAT, in December 2018 the unemployment rate among women was 23.1 percent, while among men 14.1 percent.

According to Greek police data, last year 13 women were murdered by their husbands or partners, 204 reported that they were victims of sexual abuse, while 5,088 called a special hotline asking for help to deal with violence at home.

Despite the challenges and difficulties, many Greek women give their everyday battle to further improve their position in all sectors of life with determination and optimism.

Marina Omar, 32, officer at the marketing department of Piraeus Containers Terminal S.A. (PCT S.A), a China's COSCO Shipping subsidiary, is one of them.

Omar has been working at the port since 2012 after her graduation from university.

She is considering herself lucky getting such a good job in a country suffering from high unemployment rates in recent years with a company which supports the development of employees.

Omar started working as management secretary and two years ago was promoted to the marketing department. During the past seven years she has gained valuable experience and a big family, she told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"I think that nowadays women are equal to men and this is proved also in the business field...Generally speaking women and men are equal in Greece...Nowadays the woman is not considered as the weak sex as it was considered in the past," she said commenting on Greek woman's place in Greek society.

Based on her personal experience, thinking about the life of her grandmother and mother, Omar is stressing the significant progress achieved.

"My grandmother was a farmer, so she was working very hard while she was raising her children. My mother chose to raise her children, one of the most difficult jobs I think in the world, and I have chosen the career path," she told Xinhua.

"So for the time being I am thinking how to develop my career. I think during these years the situation for the women has changed rapidly," she said.

Although she is not a mother yet, judging from her colleagues and relatives, she welcomes the significant support given by the Greek state to working mothers, urging for more to be done to further improve the standing of women in all walks of life.

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