Greece

                                                  

DISCRIMINATORY FAMILY CODE: 

The Greek Civil Code stipulates that the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years for both sexes, but that courts may allow a minor to enter into marriage if the union is “imposed for an important reason”.[1] However, sharia law is recognised in the Greek legal system[2] and sets the minimum legal age for marriage at nine years for females and 12 years for males, provided there is parental consent.[3]

Civil unions are allowed under Law 3719/2008 concerning “civil unions.” The law, entitled “Reforms concerning the family, children and society”, entered into force on 26 November 2008. It made provision for the first time in Greece for an official form of partnership other than civil or religious marriage, known as “civil unions” (σύμφωνο συμβίωσης). Civil unions are reserved to heretosexual couples only; this has been challenged by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (Case of Vallianatos and Others vs. Greece, 7th of November 2013).[4] according to which the Greek Law violates Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.[5], [6]

Early and/or forced marriages reportedly prevail among Roma communities and the Muslim community of Thrace – for reasons including virginity, family/clan relationships and poverty in Roma communities[7]– and are officially recognised by the state without court decisions.[8]This hasprompted the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to voice their concernabout the detrimental effects of such practices, particularly on girls (most recently in2012 and 2013 respectively).[9]

According to their reports, such practices affect girls’ health and completion of education, and often amount to the sale of children. Moreover, in a mission to Greece in 2005,the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography stated that “child marriage [...] compromis[es] the development of girls and often result[s] in early pregnancy and social isolation. Young married girls face onerous domestic burdens, constrained decision-making and reduced life choices.”[10] Indeed, a study published shortly after in 2006 revealed that Komotinistate hospital in Thrace reported 152 childbirths by 13-18 year old mothers in the past three years.[11]

At the national level, latest data provided by the Greek Statistical Authority indicates that 93 girls aged 15 years and under gave birth in 2012,[12] and that 348 girls aged 10-14 and 3.6% of females aged 15-19 were reportedly married, widowed, divorced or separated in 2001, compared to 57 boys and 0.8% of males, respectively.[13] Latest figures also indicate a mean age at first marriage of 29.2 for females in 2011 (32.6% for males),[14] an adolescent fertility rate of 10.0 births per 1 000 girls aged 15-19,[15] and a new tendency since 2010 for teenage pregnancies to occur more frequently outside of marriage (52% , 56.2% and 59.3% of adolescents gave birth outside of marriage in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively).[16]

Greek law provides for joint parental authority during marriage,[17] and stipulates that both spouses must “contribute to spousal support, child support, and support for the family household”.[18]Consensual divorces involving minor children can only be approved by the court if the parents submit a written agreement to the court regulating the children’s custody.[19] Under sharia law, however, the right of divorce belongs to the husband and child custody is systematically awarded to the mother for boys aged seven years and under and girls aged nine years and under, without taking into consideration the best interest of the child.[20]

Greek law provides for equal inheritance rights for wives and daughters, as the Civil Code makes no gender distinction regarding the rights of the spouse and children of the deceased.[21] In the Muslim community of Thrace however, sharia law reportedly discriminates between children by providing for sons to inherit twice as much as daughters, although a 2006 study noted that most Muslims in Thrace ignore the sharia for inheritance issues.[22]The CEDAW and CRC Committees have urged Greece to ensure that such customary practices are not given precedence over national law.[23]

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Moreover, women and men have equal rights to initiate divorce,[24] in which case child custody is determined by the court in the best interest of the child.[25]

Statistics and surveys illustrate a gender gap in relation to paid and domestic work in Greek families. Only 18.7 % of mothers with children younger than 14 years of age worked over 45 hours a week in 2008, compared to 41.9 % of fathers.[26]As regards time allocated to care activities, latest data for 2007 reveals that women spend twice as much time (43 hours) as men (22 hours) caring for/educating children and caring for elderly/disabled persons.[27]

The CEDAW Committee expressed concern over the persistence of polygamy in Muslim and Roma communities.[28]

[1] Greek Civil Code, s.1350 [2] Law 147/1914, s.4 [3] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), Minority Rights Group – Greece (MRG-G), Coordinated Organizations and Communities for Roma Human Rights in Greece  (SOKADRE) (2011). [4] European Court of Human Rights (2013). [5] Council of Europe (2010). [6] European Centre for Law and Justice (2013). [7] Ibid.; Council of Europe, Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) (2011). [8] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), (2011). [9] Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (2012),  CEDAW (2013). [10] United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). [11] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM).. [12] Hellenic Statistical Authority, "Hellas total – Live births in the year 2012 by mother’s age and child’s birth within marriage or out of wedlock”. [13] Hellenic Statistical Authority, STATISTICAL YEARBOOK of Greece 2009 & 2010; UNDESA (2013), World Marriage Data 2012 (database) [14]European Commission (2014), Eurostat (database), “Marriages” (metadata) [15] World Economic Forum (2013). [16] Hellenic Statistical Authority, "Hellas total – Live births in the year 2012 by mother’s age and child’s birth within marriage or out of wedlock” (metadata) [17] Greek Civil Code, s.1510 [18] Greek Civil Code., s.1390 [19] Greek Civil Code, s.1441 [20] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) et al. (2011). [21] Greek Civil Code, ss.1813 - 1824 [22] Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), et al (2011). [23] CEDAW (2013),CRC (2012). [24] Greek Civil Code, ss.1439 - 1441 [25] Greek Civil Code, s.1513 [26] OECD (2014), Family database (database), "LMF2.2.B: Distribution of working hours among adults in couple families by gender, 2008" (metadata) [27] OECD (2014), Family database (database), "LMF2.5.D: Average weekly hours allocated to care activities" (metadata) [28]CEDAW (2013).

RESTRICTED PHYSICAL INTEGRITY: 

Violence against women in Greece is addressed through provisions contained in the Criminal Code and specific laws.

Under Greek law, domestic violence encompasses several criminal offences. Indeed, since 2006 domestic violence is defined as the act of committing a crime against a member of the family, in accordance with articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 of law 3500/2006 (which respectively punish domestic bodily injury/harm to health; using violence or threatening a family member to commit an act, an omission or to tolerate something; rape; insulting a family member’s sexual dignity) and articles 301and 311 of the Penal Code (which refer to joint suicide and fatal injury respectively).[29]Violence is defined according to the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.[30]

The Criminal Code defines rape as the coercion to intercourse or another lewd act or tolerance thereof, by corporal violence or threat of great and imminent danger,[31]and includes marital/spousal rape in its scope since 2006.[32] A “lewd act” is to be understood as “an act not reaching intercourse, which offends common decency and morals and aims at satisfying or exciting sexual desire”.[33] Rape is punished by incarceration for an unspecified duration, and for up to ten years when the perpetrator takes advantage of the victim’s “insanity […] or incapacity to resist for whatever reason” (aggravated form or rape).[34]

Sexual abuse is also criminalised and punished by a one year minimum imprisonment term.[35]

Although sexual harassment is not a specific offence under the Criminal Code, Greece has transposed European directives on harassment and kept the same wording as the directives which define sexual harassment as “any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.[36] Sexual harassment may therefore fall under several criminal offences contained in the Criminal Code: ”misdemeanour" (bodily injury or harm to the health),[37]“offence to a person’s honour” (moral or social value),[38]or “offence to sexual dignity” (bodily contact or proposals which crudely offend a person’s dignity in his/her sexual life)[39].[40]Greek courts have condemned numerous acts on the grounds of sexual harassment, including proposals for a sexual relationship, invitations to go out, sexual attacks, embracing, caressing, kissing, excessive familiarity turning to hostility when rejected, etc.[41]

Numerous measures have been taken to address violence against women in the country. In particular, new legislation has been enacted,[42] and a national programme to prevent and combat violence against women was adopted for the period 2009-13.[43] Its implementation has led, inter alia, to the development of a nation-wide 24 hour helpline for female victims of violence, operating in English and Greek to help female immigrants; to the organisation of public awareness campaigns for both sexes; to strengthened inter-ministerial co-operation; and to the signing of a protocol between the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE) and bar associations, to create and train a pool of lawyers to support female victims of violence who want a judicial investigation into the abuse they suffered.[44]

Despite these actions, violence against women has reportedly worsened,[45] with reports pointing, inter alia, to low communication among the different levels of actors/institutions involved, limited resources, and the impact of the economic crisis.[46]12 313 calls were reportedly received by the aforementioned SOS helpline for female victims of violence between March 2011 and November 2013.[47] Reports of domestic violence increased by 54% in 2011, and a further 22% in 2012, with females said to constitute the vast majority of victims.[48] Moreover, government and NGO-run shelters for female victims of violence have reportedly closed, and restraining orders issued to perpetrators of domestic violence can reportedly take up to a year to be processed by criminal courts given that no priority is given to incidences of domestic violence over other criminal cases.[49]

An EU high level conference was held on 5 March 2014 under the auspices of the Greek presidency of the Council of the EU to present the results of an EU-wide survey on violence against women which was carried out in 2012. The results indicate that 19 % of women in Greece had experienced intimate physical and/or sexual violence by their current and/or previous partner, and 10% by a non-partner; 33% had experienced intimate psychological violence by their current and/or previous partner; 12% had been stalked; 25 % indicated having experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence in their childhood; 33% were aware of domestic violence in their circle of friends and family; and 19 % were aware of domestic violence in their work environment.[50]

 There is no evidence to suggest that Greece is a country of concern with regards to female genital mutilation.[51]

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Abortion is available upon request, and in the event of threat to maternal life, rape, health concerns, foetal impairments, and for economic or social reasons.[52] According to the latest UN statistics, the general abortion rate was 138.2 abortions per 1 000 births in 2008.[53]

In its latest report in 2013, the CEDAW Committee expressed concern over Greece’s “very high rate of abortions and [...] very low use of high quality, efficient methods of contraception, which means that women resort to abortions as a method of family planning”, and also voiced concern over Greece’s “extremely high rate of caesarean sections performed [...] without medical justification, the Greek rates being the highest in the world”.[54] The Committee therefore urged Greece, inter alia, to subsidise contraception, reduce the practice of abortion as a method of family planning, reduce the rate of caesarean sections performed without medical necessity, and guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services for disadvantaged groups of women. A study of abortion in Greece also found that the reasons for the high rates are cultural, related to local conceptions of sexuality, and not due to either a lack of information or limited access to other methods of birth control.[55]

Trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation is criminalized since 2002,and carries a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.[56]The CEDAW Committee recently expressed concern in 2013 over the persistence of violence against women which remains underreported in Greece, and urged the country to address the root causes of trafficking and prostitution to reduce the vulnerability of girls to such practices.[57]

[29]Law 3500/2006 “on domestic violence and other provisions” [30] European Commission, Daphne III Programme (2013).[31] Greek Criminal Code, s.336[32] Law 3500/2006 “on domestic violence and other provisions” replaced ‘extra-marital intercourse’ with ‘intercourse’ [33]European Commission, European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality (2011). [34] Greek Criminal Code, s.338 [35] Greek Criminal Code, s.342 [36] European Council and European Parliament (2006) [37] Greek Criminal Code, ss.308-315 [38] Greek Criminal Code., s.361 [39] Greek Criminal Code., s.337 [40]European Commission, Daphne III Programme (2013)[41]European Commission, European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Gender Equality (2011). [42] Law 3064/2002 on measures to combat trafficking in human beings, sexual and economic exploitation, and child pornography; Law 3500/2006 on domestic  violence [43] National Programme on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women for 2009-2013 [44]European Commission, Daphne III Programme (2013) [45]European Commission, Daphne III Programme (2013) [46] European Women’s Lobby (EWL) (2011).. [47]US Department of State  (2013) [48]US Department of State  (2013) [49] European Commission (2013) [50]European Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014) [51]European Agency for Fundamental Rights (2014) [52] United Nations (UN) Women (2011), Annex 3 [53]UNECE [54]CEDAW (2013) [55] Halkias (Duke 2004) [56] Hellenic Criminal Code, s.351 [57]CEDAW (2013)

SON BIAS: 

Recent data does not indicate a son bias. Greece had a male/female sex ratio of 1.06 for ages 0-4 in 2011,[58]and an overall population male/female sex ratio of 0.98 in 2013.[59]

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No data on fertility preferences could be found, nor any sex disaggregated data on birth registration, child household chores, child nutrition, and child immunisation. Identical pre-primary and primary gross enrolment ratios were recorded for both sexes between 2008-12, while net enrolment rates in secondary school were almost identical for both sexes in 2008-12.[60]

[58]UN Women (2011), Annex 4 [59]World Economic Forum (2013) [60]UNICEF (2013), At a glance: Greece, Statistics (database)

 

RESTRICTED RESOURCES AND ASSETS: 

The Greek Civil Code contains gender neutral provisions relating to land and non-land assets, including non-discriminatory provisions for both matrimonial property regimes (separation/community of property) and their termination (ss.1397-1415).However, the CEDAW Committee expressed concern over the absence of legal provisions regulating the distribution of property in de facto unions, which may lead to discriminatory practices towards women.[61]No data relating to women’s ownership of land and non-land assets could be found.

As regards access to financial services, although the World Economic Forum reported similar access to accounts in formal institutions among both sexes in 2013 (76.0 % of women had an account, compared to 80% of men),[62]2011 data from the World Bank reveals that women were much less likely to receive formal/informal loans or to be in possession of a credit/debit card. Indeed, in the past year 5.1 % of women had taken out a loan at a financial institution, compared to 11% of men; 0.7% of women had received a loan from a private lender, compared to 1.3 % of men; and 0.6 % of women had received a loan from an employer, compared to 1.3 % of men. Moreover, 13.1 % of women had a credit card, compared to 22.2 % of men; and 29.1 % of women had a debit card, compared to 39.2 % of men.[63]

Measures have been taken by the government to increase women’s access to financial services. In particular, a female entrepreneurship project for 4000 unemployed women aged 22-64 has been initiated by the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) – the main body responsible for promoting employment in Greece.[64]

 

[61]CEDAW) (2013) [62]World Economic Forum (2013), op. cit [63]World Bank (2014), Global Financial Inclusion Database (database) [64]Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) (2013), Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under articles 16 and 17 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – Second periodic reports of States parties due in 2009, Greece, E/C.12/GRC/2

RESTRICTED CIVIL LIBERTIES: 

The Greek Constitution guarantees, inter alia, freedom of movement (art.5), freedom of assembly (art.11) and freedom of speech and expression (art.14).  No discriminatory practices towards women’s access to public space could be found.

According to the European Commission’s most recent data, there were no striking gender gaps in the frequency of getting together with family and friends. 45.3% of women visited family on a daily basis; while 42% men visited friends on a daily basis.[65]

The National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality 2010-2013 sought, inter alia, to increase women’s participation in political life through measures including the establishment of binding quotas, support for female candidates and politicians, gender mainstreaming in local governance, and stronger compliance with the 1/3 minimum quota for each sex in civil service boards.[66] As a result, binding quotas were established at the national and sub-national levels,[67] obliging political parties to present at least one-third of candidates of each sex in national, regional, municipal and community elections.[68] Moreover, the organisation of public awareness-raising campaigns and 13.0 regional seminars for 1000 elected women, and the creation of a Register of elected women at the local and regional levels, has also, inter alia, strengthened women’s political participation.[69] As for voluntary quotas, one example is the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), which has a 40% minimum quota for women.[70] Also, the party Syriza has a quota of 1/3 for its leadership positions.[71]

The Law 2910/2001 introduced quotas for women to the local and municipal elections.[72] Candidates for delegates must be such that each gender must be represented by a minimum of 1/3 or one third of the total number of members of each body.[73]The law for quotas at sub-national level (article 3) states that “the number of candidate councilors from each sex shall be equal to at least 1/3 of the total number of candidates of each list. Any decimal shall be rounded to the next integer, provided that the fraction is equal to half a point or more’’.[74]

The aforementioned national program has also contributed to strengthening civil society organisations focusing on women’s rights and gender equality through actions including government (GSGE) support for the elaboration and implementation of action plans, and for the organisation and funding of gender equality-based events, as well as the creation of a dedicated space on the GSGE’s website for women’s NGOs.[75]

According to 2013 data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), women make up 21% of the Greek Parliament, thereby placing Greece in 70th position in the World Classification of women in Parliament.[76] At the sub-national level, women accounted for less than 20% of local council representatives in 2011, and less than 20% of regional assembly representatives in 2012.[77] As regards leadership positions more generally, 2013 data indicates that women represented only 6% of senior Government ministers and 7.3 % of corporate board members.[78] Moreover, in 2010 there were two times more male judges.[79] The CEDAW Committee recently expressed concern over the underrepresentation of women at all levels of political and public life in Greece, the inadequacy of the quota system, and barriers to women’s equal political participation, such as negative cultural attitudes, insufficient capacity-building for potential candidates and limited financial resources.[80]

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Regarding workplace rights, female employees in Greece are entitled to 119 days of paid maternity leave, which is fully financed by the Government and equates to 100% of their wages.[81] In the Public Sector there is a five months scheme reported; two months must be taken before birth and three after birth. For every child after the third, the length of post-natal leave is extended by two. A new law was voted in April 2012 that brings the Greek framework into alignment with that of the European Union.[82],[83]

It is prohibited for employers to discriminate on the basis of gender in hiring,[84]and to terminate women’s contracts during maternity leave.[85] However, the CEDAW Committee recently expressed concern over the extension of the period during which working mothers cannot be dismissed after their return from maternity leave for 18 months, stating that the amendment contributed to them being offered part-time and rotation work with reduced levels of pay in many cases.[86]

The CEDAW Committee also expressed concern in 2013 over other gender-based challenges in employment, including a higher rate of unemployment among women, a persistent vertical and horizontal segregation of occupations, and a gender wage gap.[87] The government has taken measures to address these challenges, for instance by implementing a project entitled “Integrated Interventions in favour of women” which benefited over 9000 women.[88]

Mild gender inequalities in access to ICT exist in Greece according to latest UN data for 2013, with biggest gaps in the 55-74 age range. Overall, 56% of women had used Internet in the last three months, compared to 64% for men; 52% of women had used Internet on a weekly basis, compared to 60% for men; and 57 % of women had used a computer in the last three months, compared to 64 % for men.[89]

[65]European Commission (2014), Eurostat (database), "Frequency of getting together with relatives" and "Frequency of getting together with friends" (metadata)

[66] Ministry of Interior, Decentralisation and E-Government, General Secretariat for Gender Equality (2010), National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality  2010-2013 [67]Through Presidential Decree 26/2012 and Law 3852/2010 respectively [68] International IDEA, Stockholm University and Inter-Parliamentary Union (2013), Global Database of Quotas for Women (database) [69] Ministry of Interior, Decentralisation and E-Government, General Secretariat for Gender Equality (2012) [70]International IDEA, Stockholm University and Inter-Parliamentary Union (2013) [72] Official site of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (Ministry of Interior) http://www.isotita.gr/index.php/docs/c104/ [73] The Presidential Decree 26/2012 concerning national elections, http://www.isotita.gr/var/uploads/NOMOTHESIA/PD_26-2012_KODIKOPOIISI-NOMOTHESIAS- EKLOGIS-VOULEYTON.pdf [accessed 01/07/2014] [74] The law 2910/2001 concerning sub-national level in Greek http://www.isotita.gr/var/uploads/NOMOTHESIA/N.%202910%202001.pdf [accessed 01/07/2014] The law in English http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/3b209fd54.pdf See article 75 (p.41) [accessed 01/07/2014] [75]Ministry of Interior, Decentralisation and E-Government, General Secretariat for Gender Equality (2012). [76] IPU (2014) [77] European Commission (2013) [78] European Commission (2013) [79]CESCR (2013). [80] CEDAW (2013). [81] Law 2874/2000, s. 11 [82] Ministry of the Interior, General Secretariat for Gender Equality, Law 4075/12, articles 48-54, pp. 2708-2710 [83] Kazassi, E.H. and Karamessini, M. (2013) [84] Law 3846/2010, s. 1 and s.11 [85] Law 3996/2011, s. 36 [86]CEDAW (2013) [87] CEDAW (2013) [88]CESCR (2013) [89] UNECE,“Science and ICT”

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Data
DISCRIM. FAM. CODE VALUE 2014: 
0.3889
DISCRIM. FAM. CODE CATEGORY 2014: 
Medium
Legal Age of Marriage: 
0.5
Early Marriage: 
0.04
Parental Authority During Marriage: 
0.5
Parental Authority After Divorce: 
0.5
Inheritance Rights For Widows: 
0.5
Inheritance Rights For Daughters: 
0.5
Data
REST. PHYS. INTEGRITY VALUE 2014: 
999
REST. PHYS. INTEGRITY CATEGORY 2014: 
Not Applicable
Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women: 
999
Prevalence Of Domestic Violence: 
0.19
Laws Addressing Domestic Violence: 
0.25
Laws Addressing Rape: 
0
Laws Addressing Sexual Harassment: 
0
Female Genital Mutilation: 
0
Reproductive Autonomy: 
999
Data
SON BIAS VALUE 2014: 
0.0872
SON BIAS CATEGORY 2014: 
Low
Missing Women: 
0
Fertility Preferences: 
0.51
Data
REST. RESOURCES & ASSETS VALUE 2014: 
0
REST. RESOURCES & ASSETS CATEGORY 2014: 
Very Low
Secure Access To Land: 
0
Secure Access To Non-Land Assets: 
0
Access To Financial Services: 
0
Data
REST. CIVIL LIBERTIES VALUE 2014: 
0.1951
REST. CIVIL LIBERTIES CATEGORY 2014: 
Low
Access To Public Space: 
0
Political Quotas: 
0
Political Participation: 
0.21