The economic crisis in Greece has reversed positive trends of gender equality, says Greece’s ambassador to Australia.
Harsh conditions in Greece due to the economic crisis have done nothing to help bridge the gender gap, and in fact have erased much of the progress made, Greece’s Ambassador to Australia, Haris Dafaranos says.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Greek Australian Women’s Network on International Women’s Day, Mr Dafaranos painted a bleak picture of the state of women in Greece.
“The increasing number of women being laid off in turn have reinforced gender roles,” he says.
“It is evident that this trend has had an impact on women’s ability to earn a disposable income and their chances of getting out of poverty,” he says.
Women’s participation in the workforce has plummeted, with many taking on part-time work or being forced to give up work altogether to look after the children as childcare costs skyrocket.
Greece is seeing a stark gap between men and women employed, with the male unemployment rate at 27.6 per cent, and the female unemployment rate much higher at 32 per cent.
Mr Dafaranos says disparity with the unemployment rate is reinforcing antiquated gender roles.
“[The crisis has] enforced men’s position as the breadwinners of the household and women’s position as the caretakers,” he says.
Since the beginning of the crisis, women have been at a higher risk of falling into poverty than men.
Public sector cuts have severely hurt their employment options, and there are few jobs in Greece that offer maximum maternity cover.
Those that are employed aren’t much better off, as many women of child bearing age are forced to promise they won’t fall pregnant.
Those without work must make due with minuscule unemployment benefits of 360 euro a month.
Experts have also seen a rise in domestic violence, spurred on by tough economic conditions at home.
Mr Dafaranos says he’s hopeful that the new Greek government will help address the growing gender gap and implement long lasting laws that will help women back into the workforce.
“It is very encouraging that the new government in Greece has the resolve to tackle as a priority the humanitarian dimension of the crisis,” he says.
source: Neos Kosmos