Policies and actions by the Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality in favour of the youth

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Athens, 4-42017              To: - EIGE.
Dear Colleagues,
Following our fruitful cooperation, I am sending you a comprehensive report on policies and actions taken by the Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality in favour of the youth.
1. Gender mainstreaming in youth policies
A. In Greece, the National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2016-2020, which constitutes an initiative taken by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE), i.e. the governmental organization in charge of equality between women and men, comprises the following six policy areas with concrete objectives and distinctive synergies with competent stakeholders, covering in that way all fields of both public and private life in favour of young women and men, as well as girls and boys:

i) social inclusion and equal treatment of women facing multiple discrimination

ii) combating violence against women

 iii) labour market, work-family reconciliation

 iv) education, training, media, culture, sports

v) health

 vi) equal participation of women in decision-making.

 The National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2016-2020 has been included as a good practice in the 2016 Report on Equality between Women and Men in the European Union (European Commission, Brussels, March 2017): pages 51-52 of the EC Report  http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=43416 .

 B. 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 Authorities 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.

 Its structure is based on the 12 thematic  areas of the Beijing Platform for Action and "The Girl Child" is one of them; in addition, youth issues are incorporated in all thematic areas.

 The European Commission has selected the specific Project as an example of good practice for the 2015 Annual Report on Equality between Women and Men in Europe (March 2016 – page 40, relevant link:  http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/annual_reports/2016_annual_report_2015_web_en.pdf ). 

 C. During the Programming Period 2007-2013 extended up to 2015, the General Secretariat for Gender Equality supported the creation of methodologies and toolkits aiming to gender mainstreaming in public policies (youth policies included) of the 13 Regions and the 15 most populated Municipalities of Greece.

 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, followed by an official document addressed to all the Ministries and institutions/agencies of the public sector, is actually the implementation of the recommendations of a survey on this topic which was initiated by the GSGE. 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, the Secretary General for Gender Equality has already submitted to the competent Minister of Interior the final draft of a Bill on substantive gender equality (youth policies included), which is expected to be forwarded to the Hellenic Parliament for further elaboration and adoption.
 F.  In the framework of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January-June 2014), the General Secretariat for Gender Equality organised, in collaboration with the European Centre for Women and Technology and in cooperation with National and European Stakeholders, the Conference entitled “Women & Girls Go Digital, National Action Plan for increasing the female talent in digital jobs” (Athens, 4-4-2014).

In the context of Europe 2020 Strategy and in particular of the implementation of the Digital Agenda for Europe, the objective of the Conference had been to demonstrate the link between e-Skills, Gender Diversity and ICT as a key factor for economic growth based on the creation of digital jobs. The Conference addressed the digital skills gap and raised awareness about the added value by including female talent in digital jobs, research and innovation.  Emphasis was given to the promotion of new opportunities for young digital entrepreneurs and to the challenges of the role of the media in the new digital era.

The Initiative “Women & Girls Go Digital in Greece – WGGDG” aims to increase the female talent in Digital Jobs based on the European Commission’s Initiative Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and elaborated in collaboration with national and European stakeholders.

Positive reference to the Greek initiative is made in the 2015 Report by the European Parliament entitled “Empowering women on the Internet” (pages 16-17): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2015/536473/IPOL_IDA(2015)536473_EN.pdf .

Thanks to the specific Initiative, Greecewon a major international award in the category of “digital opportunity”. The WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards is a biannual event for the recognition of excellence in digital technology, established by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance. The award for the “Women and Girls Go Digital” Initiative in the category of “digital opportunity” was announced on September 30th 2014, as part of the 19th World Information Technology and Services Conference held in Mexico. The WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards are granted to institutions and enterprises that capitalize on ICT innovation for the benefit of the public sector and the citizen, creating new opportunities for employment and sustainable development (press release in English: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=09000016805969a9 ).

A very concrete positive outcome of our coalition is the fact that on the 8th of September, 2016 the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE) announced a public call for five scholarships to Greek female graduates for attending the Postgraduate Programme in Business Administration offered by the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE) in Athens: https://www.wegate.eu/public-call-five-scholarships-greek-female-graduates-attend-postgraduate-programme-business .

 G. The General Secretariat for Gender Equality has been a partner of the Project entitled “Innovation and Employability for Women, E-Women” co-financed by the European Economic Area (EEA Grants 2009-2014). Its aim is to identify the current evolution of technology in relation to women’s participation and sensitization, especially for young women, associated with ICT and employment (employment/employability and entrepreneurship). The leader of the Project is the NationalCenter for Scientific Research DEMOCRITOS (relevant website in English of the largest multidisciplinary research center in Greece: http://www.demokritos.gr/Contents.aspx?CatId=48). The Project E-Women was launched in January 2016 and concluded in March 2017.

2. Gender policies in the field of education

 A. Since July 2015 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), the National Center for Public Administration & Local Government and the Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs on the promotion of gender equality in education (e.g. 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).

 B. Changing stereotypes is a top priority for Greece, that is why two poster competitions initiated by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality were implemented during the school/academic year 2015-2016. The former was addressed to students of secondary education and the groups of schools classified at the three first places participated at an educational trip at the European Institutions based in Brussels under the sponsorship by Ms Konstantinka Kouneva, MEP. The latter was addressed to university students of fine arts and the best poster evaluated by a jury has become the official poster of the General Secretariat for Gender Equality with the motto: We break stereotypes - We promote gender equality.
During the school year 2016-2017 two competitions of digital creation are in process. The former is addressed to students of primary education and it focuses on combating gender stereotypes through toys and games entitled "All toys and games for all children" (no special toys/games for girls and no special toys/games for boys). The latter is addressed to students of secondary education and it is associated with awareness-raising of the gender aspect of environment.
3. Combating sexual and gender-based violence

A. The SGBV pillar of the National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2016-2020 refers to all forms of gender-based violence (e.g. domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking in women) and its main characteristics 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 sos15900@isotita.gr, 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.).
Undoubtedly, special provisions are taken for young people.
 B. The GSGE has been actively involved in the management of the female aspect of the refugee and migration crisis in our country. One concrete and tangible outcome of our synergies and networking with high profile International Organizations and NGOs is our involvement in the following two posters directlty associated with the protection and respect of women refugees' and migrants' rights with emphasis on combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
 Both posters present their message in five languages - English, French, Arabic, Farsi and Greek:
a) We Keep each other safe by caring for each other: http://www.orangehabitat.com/16days/we-care-for-each-other.pdf
 b) We build a safe community with respect and equality for all: http://www.orangehabitat.com/16days/safe-community.pdf .
 C. In addition, the GSGE has guaranteed a number of places at the Hostels of the National Network of Structures against gender-based violence for female refugees and their children through an institutionalized Protocol of Cooperation with eight competent Ministries, Public Agencies and Local Authorities, so that the integration process becomes smoother for the vulnerable female population facing multiple discrimination.
It is underlined that the Protocol has been signed by the following nine public agencies in total:

a) General Secretariat for Gender Equality (Coordinator of the initiative)

b) Ministry of National Defence

c) General Secretariat of Reception

d) General Secretariat for Public Health

 e) Research Center for Gender Equality (KETHI - an institution supervised by the Ministry of Interior)

 f) Association of Greek Regions

 g) Central Union of Municipalities

h) National Centre for Social Solidarity

i) Hellenic Agency for Local Development & Local Government.

 This initiative has been included as a good practice in the 2016 Report on Equality between Women and Men in the European Union (European Commission, Brussels, March 2017): page 43 of the EC Report  http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=43416 .

4. Promoting healthy attitudes among young people

Health has been included in the National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2016-2020 as a distinct policy area with the following objectives:

i) integration of a gender perspective in healthcare policies

ii) elimination of gender stereotypes in health and health services

 iii) health issues for special population groups (e.g. young women, older women, refugee women, women with disabilities etc).

 In this framework, the GSGE is implementing awareness-raising actions/campaigns in schools and the media and is also developing synergies with competent state, private and non-governmental stakeholders aiming at the promotion of healthy attitudes among young people.

 5. Changing gender stereotypes

 The GSGE is implementing a wide range of policies and actions against gender stereotypes in public life. Apart from the field of education, which has already been presented in depth, special attention is being paid to mass media.

 So, the GSGE is participating as permanent member at the Social Control Council of ERT/Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation and is coordinating the Committee on Discrimination, Gender Equality and Citizens’ Rights, safeguarding in that way a fair management of gender issues (youth issues included) in the state television channels and radio stations.

 The Greek side would be grateful if you informed your leadership and the officials of the competent administrative units accordingly.

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

   Yours sincerely,

Dimosthenis TREMOS - dtremos@isotita.gr