Greece has one of the highest rates of gender inequality, ranking in at 87 on the World Economic Forum’s World Gender Gap Report 2015, the lowest ranking for a European nation. It ranked below countries such as Bangladesh, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Ghana, and Uganda. That was not the case almost 10 years ago when it held steady at #69. Obviously something has happened in the last decade to put the mother of democracy and the cornerstone of the Western world on the same or worse footing as third-world nations or traditionally patriarchal societies. This has something to do with the deteriorating economic conditions in that nation with the onset of the Eurocrisis. As the economic crisis wears on, women have been hit even harder than their male counterparts across economic and social lines. Ironically, there is more media attention given to the plight of women and girls of Greece from non-Hellenic sources (i.e The Guardian) than the native press. The National Centre for Social Research in Greece (EKKE) reports that prostitution in Greece has soared by 150% since the financial crash. Women and girls in Greece are increasingly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The failing economy also has an impact on those already in prostitution. With the men who use these girls for sex having less money, more and more girls are resorting to unprotected sex to sustain the pimps’ expectations for income, and diagnoses of HIV have now risen by 200%. Unemployment rates are generally higher for women than men since the crisis (http://www.isotita.gr/en/index.php/news/579)
But the picture is not all bleak. Where there is crisis, there is room for change. . This has resulted in opportunity (female entrepreneurship has increased by 30% pushing Greece from the bottom of the list of female-headed entrepreneurship to the top (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/promoting-entrepreneurship/we-work-for/women/index_en.htm)
For more encouraging news in the numbers, in terms of Educational Attainment, Greece at 56 fared better than other EU countries, including Switzerland, Bulgaria, Italy, but beat by Cyprus (41), UK (37), Spain (47),Estonia (39), and Poland (38). The listing for Political Empowerment is perplexing because it placed at slot 91, beat out by third-world countries such as Madagascar (80), Kazakhstan (78), Rwanda (7) and Bangladesh (8). In terms of Health and Survival, Greece ties in at place 56 along with Germany, but can this be a positive when countries such as Tanzania (55), Romania (42) and Ukraine and Bulgaria waged in at higher slots?
All in all, however, when financial distress falls upon a country, women tend to suffer more than male counterparts across all sectors of society. The World Economic Forum’s Report on Global Gender Gap comes out this September. Will Greece’s gender equality fall even more?