Place of Greek women in society and economy leaves much to be desired

Women still have far fewer professional opportunities in Greece, and much less participation in politics and education than the EU average, according to the World Economic Forum. Greece lies 50th among 58 countries, taking women’s equality with men as criterion, trailing even countries, such as Colombia, Bangladesh and Thailand. This study, presented recently by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), concludes that countries that score high in the competitiveness index have fewer inequalities between the two genders. Greece is well below the EU average in all categories regarding equality, scoring a total of 3.4 against the EU average of 4.5. The greatest difference is recorded in women’s involvement in politics and education. Greece’s particularly low record can be attributed to the female unemployment rate, standing at a higher-than-average 16.1 percent in 2004, the low share of women in the work force, the low number of female MPs – despite its recent rise – and insufficient policies to support working mothers (public day nurseries, laws protecting mothers, etc), the World Economic Forum suggested. The survey reveals that the countries with less inequality for women are those with a higher gross domestic product per capita. Although this does not constitute a rule, as there are several exceptions, it is an indication of the relation between the degree of women’s role toward strengthening and the momentum of economies. The World Economic Forum also concludes that there are no absolute equality models between the two genders. The international picture, it says, shows that no country has managed to yet eliminate all differences between men and women. The Scandinavian countries are generally closer to this target, providing women with a quality of life that is virtually equal to that of men, with comparable levels of political involvement and virtually the same levels of participation in the economy and education. Many countries exhibit considerable differences among various domains, while other states are still a long way from equality in all sectors.

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