Recent developments on gender equality in Greece (December 2015)

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Athens, 9-12-2015               
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Colleagues,
Following our fruitful cooperation and discussion during the successful Conference on women in politics, which was jointly organized by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, i.e. the governmental organization in charge of equality between women and men, and the Embassy of Sweden in Greece  (Athens, 8-12-2015) with the participation of three distinctive speakers from abroad (two experts from Sweden and the Representative of the UN Women in Albania), I am sending you the recent the recent developments and the key points of the Greek policy on gender equality:
A. A new National Action Plan on Gender Equality is being drafted. A non-remunarated Working Group has been set up upon a decision by Ms Foteini Kouvela, Secretary General for Gender Equality since March 2015, and the first draft is expected to be submitted at our political leadership by the end of December 2015. Our intention is the new Action Plan to be endorsed by the Ministers' Council and it will serve as the roadmap for the governmental policies on equality between women and men in Greece during the period 2016-2020.
B. A Protocol of Cooperation has been activated between the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, the Research Center for Gender Equality (an entity suprvised by the Ministry of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction), the National Center for Public Administration & Local Government and the Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs on the promotion of gender equality in the primary education (a number of training seminars to the educational personnel of primary schools are in the process of implementation throughout the country, so that the principles of equality and non-discrimination between the two sexes are perceived by the young generation at a very early stage).
C. Changing stereotypes is a top priority for us, that is why two poster competitions initiated by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality are in process. The former is addressed to students of secondary education and the groups of schools classified at the three first places will participate at an educational trip at the European Institutions based in Brussels under the sponsorship by Ms Konstantinka Kouneva, MEP. The latter is addressed to university students of fine arts and the best posters evaluated by a jury will become the official posters of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality. In addition, a video competition is planned to be announced soon.
D. The political leadership of the Ministry in charge of public administration has accepted the proposal by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality on gender-neutral language in the official documents in the Greek public administration. The proposal is actually the implementation of the recommendations of a survey on this topic which was initiated by our organization. This is considered to be a progressive step towards changing mentalities on the relationship between the two sexes.
E. The political leadership in charge of gender equality has contacted a number of representatives of Ministries, Agencies and social partners aiming at a holistic approach to the implementation of gender equality policies. In the framework of these initiatiatives, Ms Foteini Kouvela has already submitted to the competent Minister of Interior & Administrative Reconstruction the final draft of a Bill on substantive gender equality, which is expected to be forwarded to the Hellenic Parliament for further elaboration and adoption.
F. A Preparatory Committee has been established since 24-9-2015 for drafting the Bill for the ratification by the Hellenic Parliament of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence.
G. An "Observatory on Gender Equality" has been set up in the General Secretariat for Gender Equality.  The Flagship Project is entitled "Service organization for the integration, monitoring and evaluation of Gender Equality Policies in all aspects of Public Sector's Actions (Observatory)"; its aim is to support Public Administration and Local Governments to design, implement and evaluate policies concerning gender equality through detailed data on equality issues (statistics and surveys) deriving from the development and function of relevant tools.
H. Cooperation between the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, i.e. the governmental organization in charge of equality between women and men in Greece, and the National Center for Public Administration & Local Government, i.e. the national strategic agent for the development of the human resources of the public administration and local government, has been set up aiming to gender mainstreaming in the curricula and the activities of the National Center for Public Administration & Local Administration.
I. The General Secretariat for Gender Equality has supported the creation of methodologies and toolkits aiming to gender mainstreaming in public policies of the 13 Regions and the 15 most populated Municipalities of Greece.
J. The basic charactistics of the “National Programme on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women”, which refers to all forms of gender based violence (e.g. domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking in women), are the following:
- fourteen Counseling Centers operated by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality at the capitals of the corresponding Regions of the country
- twenty five Counseling Centers operated by the twenty five largest Municipalities nationwide
- nineteen shelters for Abused Women operated by 19 large Municipalities, which started their operation within the period 2013-2014; they provide bilingual (Greek and English) services of shelter, psychological and social support to women victims of violence and their children
- two Shelters for Abused Women operated by the Ministry of Labor, Social Security & Social Solidarity / National Centre for Social Solidarity in the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki
- the bilingual (Greek and English) SOS helpline 15900 accompanied by the email-address, which has been in operation since March 2011; it provides services of advice, support and counseling to women victims of gender based violence, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year (a low-cost, nationwide, confidential helpline)
- implementation of an awareness raising campaign including relevant seminars, a thematic conference, informational material in four languages (Greek, English, French and Albanian), TV and radio spots, cultural events, publicity on public transport, entries in national and migrant Press, a webpage and a facebook page as well as banners in web pages; the information leaflet for the Counselling Centre of Komotini –Thrace is also published in the Turkish language
- training is offered to counsellors who are recruited in the Counselling Centers, the Shelters and the SOS telephone helpline, to lawyers who participate in the legal aid programmes of women-victims of violence, as well as to professionals who deal with such cases (i.e. policemen/policewomen, judges, health professionals, etc.).


The Greek side would be grateful if you informed your leadership accordingly and contributed to the dissemination of this comprehensive information among competent stakeholders.


Wishing you and all the members of your team the very best,    

   Yours sincerely,

Dimosthenis TREMOS -