Women in armed forces consigned to ‘feminine’ tasks

A survey of the way men and women coexist in Greece’s armed forces, the first of its kind in the European Union, has been carried out by the National Defense Ministry in the three services. The results were announced Wednesday at a press conference at the War Museum, with the participation of the Center for Research in Issues of Equality (KETHI), which carried out the survey. Its main purpose was to give women an equal opportunity to talk about the issues they face regarding coexistence between the two sexes in the forces. The main conclusion was that the numbers of women are growing all the time. In 1990, there were only nine women students at the Military Academy; in 2003, there were 442 graduates. In 2000, the number of women serving in all three forces had risen to 6,472 from 1,791 in 1992. In recent years the number of professional soldiers of both sexes aged 18-28 has also increased. They are recruited by an examination and a point system. Yet men still have a monopoly on the more technical jobs; secretarial and clerical work is still considered «women’s work» and is done solely by women recruits, even if they hold a university degree. According to existing legislation, there is no sexual discrimination in hiring staff for the civil service and promotion is carried out the basis of formal qualifications and length of service. Senior positions are granted on the basis of various criteria. «The survey showed that women themselves want to participate in the decision-making centers,» said Vasso Artinopoulou, who is chairwoman of KETHI’s board and assistant professor of criminology at the Panteion University, adding, «They want to have the authority to do away with the stereotypes attached to traditional professions in this country.»