Thursday, March 08, 2007

Women's Day 2007

Hooray for us, girls!! March the 8th is marked all over the world as International Women's Day. Some think that by 2007 enough work has been done to progress the situation of women and that such a day isn't really that important any more. I know London is marking it with some rubbish about animals in art and yoga rather than important issues as why is it that mothers with young children are the most discriminated against than any other group in the job market. But we're not in London, we're in Athens.

Greece is one of the safest countries in Europe, and this applies for the safety of women too. I can wait at a near-deserted bus stop late at night and not feel worried about my safety, unlike London. Greece is waking up to the 21st Century and taking steps towards reducing the machismo that is characteristic of Mediterranean countries in general and promoting gender equality in school and at work.

Consider, then, these statistics which I pulled from last week's Athens News on the incidence of abuse of Greek women:

Experience of violent behaviour by a husband or partner in a previous relationship:

Experience of violence in house in which you grew up:

Verbal or physical abuse from husband or partner:
56% <-- am I the only one who thinks this is WAY TOO HIGH?!
Forced into sexual intercourse:
Consider husband or partner to be violent:
It goes without saying that Greece, like almost everywhere else in the world, pays a woman less than a man gets for the same job. Back to the macho Mediterranean culture, in summer 2005 when I was walking back from a beach and a male jogger running past me grabbed me between the legs, it was shrugged off as one of those playful things men do in the summer. It might not be such a big deal on the scale of violating things that a man can do to a woman, but it's these small allowances that add up to a bigger picture.

Don't think that it's all bad news though. Today, put on your favourite clothes and go out with your girlfriends for your coffee. If you'll be at home, pour a glass of wine and say "Here's to me!" Celebrate what women have achieved thus far, and in fact celebrate the fact that you even exist. 10 million baby girls in India weren't so lucky. I know this post is a bit heavier than my usual nonsense, but women's rights is a cause very close to my heart. I grew up in a country where a baby girl could be killed for as little as 70 cents. And I'm not talking abortion, I mean an actual baby that had been born.

I did try to find events in Athens that were marking Women's Day, so if anyone reading knows of something please post it in a comment. Kosmos Radio is playing female singers all day till 2pm on 93.6 FM.

To all mothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, sisters, businesswomen, wonderwomen, here's to US!



Anonymous said...

I've been told that Greece is the only country within the EU which doesn't classify forced sex as rape when it occurs between husband & wife. Do you know if this is true? That a man cannot rape his wife BECAUSE she's his wife? If so, Greece clearly has a long, long way to go....

. said...

Unfortunately you are right. A draft law is being processed to make marital rape a crime in Greece, but it is not yet in effect. The last I read about this was August 2006 in Athens News:

Yuva said...

and ofcourse.. we few confused men do cheer woman and trying to find.. whatz good in a act women, with Strength or being strong!?

happy women's day..;)