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): http://www.isotita.gr/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/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.