Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: ‘The struggle for gender equality is constant’
“We have opened up the doors of the Maximos Mansion to give a symbolic message that this struggle is ongoing, that this is not a day of celebration, it is a day that reminds us that the struggle continues,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, as he greeted some 180 women from all walks of life at the government’s headquarters, to mark International Women’s Day.
“Equality cannot be established only in the laws, it must also be established in practice and this is something that it a constant battle in our daily lives, our society, our workplaces, our families, a battle with stereotypes and prejudice,” he said.
The “beast” of gender and domestic violence had to be confronted and fought with courage, the prime minister underlined, along with the discrimination that still existed, thanking the women invited to the Maximos Mansion for their “daily struggle”.
“In you we see the face of the women who have fought battles to take us one step further as a society. We can take yet more steps forward,” he added, noting that the group included women from all social classes and all professions, including the armed forces, security forces, scientists, academics and ordinary working women.
The struggle for women’s equality had begun more than 160 years ago, Tsipras noted, but “we are not yet at that point where we do not need to remember, on every March 8, and point out that this struggle has not ended.”
Though many battles had been won in that time, including in Greece, the war against was not over, and instances of discrimination against women in the workplace continued, with many professions still considered “male” preserves.
At this point, the prime minister expressed his pleasure to see many women from the armed forces among the guests, including aircraft pilots. He also underlined the need to end discrimination within families, especially instances of violence and abuse, and sexual harrassment in the workplace.
The event was attended by many women in the cabinet, with Tsipras noting that the women that he had entrusted with responsibilities had brought excellent results and “I should promise that the presence of the female gender in the next governments will be greater.”
He noted that, ahead of the municipal, regional and European elections, that establishing equality must not be imposed by law “but through the trust of the citizens towards women, who have proved through their work…that they can represent us, not just well but better.”
During the event, Tsipras was asked when he is thinking of visiting Skopje and placed the visit toward the end of March or the start of April.
“March 8, International Women’s Day, reminds us that the struggle for true equality is constant and concerns us all,” the prime minister said in a tweet to mark the anniversary on Friday, with a link to a longer message on the prime minister’s official website.
“Throughout the world, women continue to struggle to eliminate discrimination at work, in education, in politics and in the family and personal relations. The struggle for a fairer society is not just that for job security but also for the abolition of the discrimination of autocracy, violence and patriarchy,” the prime minister’s message noted.
The government had taken a series of initiatives that aimed to lessen this discrimination, Tsipras said, such as by voting to incorporate the Council of Europe convention on preventing violence against women into Greek law, setting up structures to support and advice victims of gender violence, increases places in day care, or supporting families and extending maternity leave.
“March 8, International Women’s Day and international day of the Feminist Movement reminds us all that the struggle for true equality is constant and concerns us all,” Tsipras said.
Attached to the post was a video featuring a series of women describing the positive aspects of gender equality.