“Contribution by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality on ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective”
Athens, December 2016
1. The current situation in Greece
On the 11th of November, 2016 the Hellenic Statistical Authority (HSA) announced data on the use of information and communication technologies by households and their members and more specifically on e-commerce and privacy and protection of personal data of users. The data derive from the sample Survey on the Use of Information and Communication Technologies by households and individuals, conducted for 2016. The survey was conducted on 4.774 private households and equal number of household members, throughout Greece, with the only prerequisite the existence in the household of, at least, one member aged 16–74 years old (relevant infographic in English: http://www.statistics.gr/documents/20181/2454858/infographic_ict_en.pdf/5c501175-6888-4daa-861c-6ce60f980734?version=1.0 ).
Here are the key findings:
population of Greece aged 16-74 years: 8 million;
5,5 million internet users
a) 3,4 million internet users with a mobile device using Wi-Fi
b) 2,5 million internet users with a mobile device using mobile phone network
c) e-government: 3,9 million (48,9%)
d) indicative list of internet activities for all users:
85,3% online news,
81,9% information on goods and services,
67,5% social networking.
It is noted that there are not tremendous differences between women and men in relation to the ICT use (data publicised by the HSA in 2015), but there are differences associated with the level of education and the purpose of the ICT use by the two sexes and also among women (e.g. young people up to 29 years old use the PC up to 80% daily, men with tertiary education background use internet for entertainment up to 56%, while for women with the same background the relevant percentage falls to 42%).
2. A comprehensive list of policies and actions initiated by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality on the promotion of digital agenda
A. The drafting of a new National Action Plan on Gender Equality has been just completed. Our intention is the new Action Plan to be endorsed by the Ministers' Council, so that it can serve as the roadmap for the governmental policies on equality between women and men in Greece during the period 2016-2020.
In particular, the priorities of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016-2020 are in accordance with the guidelines of the European Commission to the 28 EU Member-States and concern the following policy areas:
1) social cohesion, poverty, immigration and multiple discrimination
2) gender-based violence
3) labour market and reconciliation of family and professional life
4) education, training, culture, sports and mass media
The issue of digital literacy in favour of women and girls has been emphatically incorporated in all policy areas for the period 2016-2020 through further development of synergies among competent stakeholders from the public and the private sector.
B. A Protocol of Cooperation has been activated between the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE), the Research Centre for Gender Equality (an entity supervised by the Ministry), the National Centre 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); the issue of digital literacy can be included in the curricula of the training seminars aiming at the development of methods and tools for the advancement of gender equality from an early stage.
It is noted that the bilateral cooperation between the GSGE, i.e. the governmental organization in charge of equality between women and men in Greece, and the Ministry of Education has been extended to all three educational levels (primary, secondary and tertiary education).
C. 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 initiatives, the final draft of a Bill on substantive gender equality has already submitted to the competent Minister of Interior, which is expected to be forwarded to the Hellenic Parliament for further elaboration and adoption; the issue of female digital empowerment is covered by the provisions of the Bill.
D. 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 gender-segregated data on equality issues (statistics and surveys) deriving from the development and function of relevant tools. The issue of digital literacy and ICT is concisely included in the competences of the GSGE Observatory.
It has to be underlined that the specific project has been selected by the European Commission as a national good practice in the Annual Report on Equality between Women and Men in the European Union 2015 (Brussels, March 2016): page 40 of the Report
E. 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 Centre 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 Centre for Public Administration & Local Administration (digital literacy and ICT included).
F. 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 (Programming Period 2007-2013 co-financed by the European Union). The issue of female digital empowerment has been incorporated in the outcome of the specific Project.
G. 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 has 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, Greece won 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 .
H. 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 National Center 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 started in January 2016 and is expected to conclude in March 2017.
3. The issue of gender-based violence on line
A. The basic characteristics 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Counseling Centre of Komotini –Thrace is also published in the Turkish language
- training is offered to counselors who are recruited in the Counseling 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.).
B. A Preparatory Committee has been established by the GSGE since 24-9-2015 for drafting the Bill for the ratification by the Hellenic Parliament of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The CoE Convention includes provisions on the “GBV on line”, so, after its ratification, Greece will acquire a comprehensive framework for preventing and combating the new forms of digital gender-based violence.
C. The GSGE has widely publicized in Greece successfully the key findings of the UNESCO Report on violence against LGBT persons in education (May 2016), as well as the Belgian campaign on the sensitization of the young people against LGBT stereotypes (July 2016).
D. The GSGE participates at the Working Group set by the Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs on the implementation of the Project "No Hate Speech Movement" initiated by the Council of Europe.
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,
Seasons Greetings for Merry Christmas and a creative and healthy New Year,