Legislative and policy framework
Article 4 of the Greek Constitution enshrines the principle of gender equality, stating that ‘Greek men and women have equal rights and obligations’, The State shall ensure that the inequalities which exist in practice, particularly against women, are removed.’
The first efforts to implement gender mainstreaming in Greece were made in the 2000s, when the General Secretariat for Gender Equality (GSGE) actively participated in the planning process of the third Community Support Framework (CSF) 2000-2006, which is Greece’s development programme and is financed by the European Union’s (EU) European Structural Funds (ESF). The subsequent CSF (2007-2013) presented gender mainstreaming as an improvement factor for the quality of public policies in the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF). In 2010, a national integrated gender mainstreaming strategy was launched within the framework of the National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality 2010-2013. Building on that National Programme, a National Action Plan (NAP) on Gender Equality 2016-2020 was introduced in 2017 in the wake of the last recommendation of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in Greece in 2013.
The Law on Substantive Gender Equality 4604/2019 on promoting substantive gender equality, preventing, and combating gender-based violence, constitutes a legal obligation to promote gender mainstreaming, although it does not contain provisions for enforcement or sanctions. The Law stipulates legislative measures to strengthen the national gender machinery (Articles 10-20, Chapter B), as well as diverse government actions directed toward gender mainstreaming.
To ensure the integration of gender equality and gender dimensions in public policies, each Ministry must:
- Develop quantitative and qualitative indicators on gender issues for the assessment of gender mainstreaming in all relevant measures and policies;
- Analyse the consequences of draft laws through mandatory gender impact assessments; and
- Publish an online progress report on gender-based discrimination.
The Law sets out a comprehensive set of measures, including the use of gender-neutral language in official documents of the public administration; provisions against gender stereotypes and discrimination in mass media and advertisements; a quota system (minimum of 40 % women candidates) for each electoral district in parliamentary and European elections (the same regulation already exists for municipal and regional elections, Law 4555/2018), and the establishment of an Autonomous Equality Office in each of the 13 regions of the country (Article 7- 8).
In addition, under the provisions of Law 4837/2021 (Article 47), a ‘Diversity Label’ has been introduced to reward businesses that stand out concerning the promotion of equal treatment and combating discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, colour, nationality, religion, disability, age, beliefs, and sexual orientation. Several sectoral laws, namely Law 4808/2021 for the Ratification of ILO Convention 190/2019, and Law 4531/2018 for the Ratification of the Istanbul Convention promote specific aspects of gender equality.
The National Action Plan for Gender Equality (NAPGE) 2021-2025, which was announced in December 2021, forms the core framework for Greece in this area, functioning as a roadmap for gender equality policy in the coming years. As a nationwide strategy, it covers all regions and is partially budgeted for the period covered by the Action Plan. The National Action Plan is organised around four priority axes (and sub-priorities), each of which focuses on a specific thematic dimension of gender equality policies, although there are no quantifiable targets to facilitate monitoring.
The National Action Plan for Gender Equality (NAPGE) 2021-2025 Priority Axes
- Prevention and fight against gender-based and domestic violence.
- Equal participation of women in the labour market.
- Equal participation of women in decision-making positions/leadership roles
- Gender mainstreaming in sectoral policies.
Governmental equality bodies
The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, responsible for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality has the highest level of governmental responsibility for gender equality.
The current governmental body responsible for the promotion of gender equality in Greece is the General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender Equality (GSDFPGE) (Γενική Γραμματεία Δημογραφικής και Οικογενειακής Πολιτικής και Ισότητας των Φύλων), which resides under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs since 2019.
Combating gender-based discrimination is the primary objective of the GSDFPGE. The intersection of gender with other forms of discrimination is prioritised to ensure social inclusion and equal treatment of women facing multiple types of discrimination (in line with NAPGE 2021-2025). Currently, there are 45 officials employed to carry out the functions of the GSDFPGE.
- Drafting gender equality and anti-discrimination policies for the government
- Coordinating and/or implementing government decisions on gender equality as well as gender mainstreaming processes and methodologies
- Conducting gender-sensitive analysis of policies and legislation
- Integrating gender equality considerations in EU and international affairs
- Publishing and disseminating gender equality-related information and training materials
- Providing legal support for victims of discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender
- Monitoring progress in achieving gender equality
The second governmental body responsible for the promotion of gender equality in Greece is the Research Centre for Gender Equality (Κέντρο Ερευνών για Θέματα Ισότητας) (KETHI). Established in 1995, this is a legal entity under private law. It was supervised by the Ministry of Interior until July 2019; at which time it was transferred to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It aims to eliminate gender-based discrimination and inequality and to promote and conduct research on gender equality topics defined by the GSDFPGE. Currently, there are 83 officials employed at the Research Centre for Gender Equality.
- Conducting gender-sensitive analysis of policies and legislation, as well as research on gender equality issues
- Coordinating and/or implementing government decisions on gender equality
- Publishing and disseminating gender equality related information and training
- Providing legal support for victims of discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender
Both the GSDFPGE and the Research Centre for Gender Equality are consulted by other government departments and ministries about certain existing policies, laws, or programmes in policy fields other than gender equality. However, such consultations seldom lead to relevant adjustments in respective policies, laws, or programmes.
Coordination of gender mainstreaming takes place through the National Council for Gender Equality (Εθνικό Συμβούλιο Ισότητας των Φύλων), which was established in 2019 under Law 4604 (Article 9) as an advisory body composed of 11 representatives from ministries, academia, and NGOs. The Council discusses and evaluates existing gender equality policy, as well as proposes policies and actions to the GSDFPGE. Article 10 of Law 4606 on promoting substantive gender equality, preventing, and combating gender-based violence introduced the establishment of an Autonomous Gender Equality Office in each Ministry.
The Autonomous Gender Equality Offices Functions
- Collecting and processing data on the incorporation of gender equality into the Ministry's policies, and formulating gender indicators
- Drawing up a gender impact assessment report of each bill
- Providing an overview of activities for the annual report of the government to parliament
In addition, all 17 ministries have contact persons charged with assisting with the implementation of the National Action Plan on Gender Equality (NAPGE) 2021-2025. Ad-hoc working groups on specific topics are also formed and created.
Independent equality body
Concerning the monitoring and implementation of the equal treatment principle, the Greek Ombudsperson (Συνήγορος του Πολίτη) is responsible for equal treatment of women and men on issues such as access to employment, working conditions, and access to and provision of services by public institutions. Its mandate is to combat discrimination and promote the principle of equal treatment irrespective of gender, racial or ethnic origin, family or social status, religion or belief, disability or chronic illness, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The Greek Ombudsperson (Συνήγορος του Πολίτη) Functions
- Research gender equality issues
- Publishes and disseminates gender equality-related information and training materials
- Decides on complaints of discrimination on the grounds of sex
- Monitors progress in achieving gender equality
Currently, 15 employees are working on equality issues at the Office of the Ombudsperson, where senior investigators spend about 80 % of their time on complaints and content focused on gender equality. The Ombudsperson in Greece is consulted about certain cases concerning new or existing policies, laws or programmes in policy fields other than gender equality, resulting in reasonable adjustments being made on only some occasions.
There is a separate parliamentary committee - the Special Permanent Committee on Equality, Youth and Human Rights - which includes gender equality as a specific and named part of its brief and regularly monitors the work of the GSDFPGE and the Research Centre for Gender Equality, for the promotion of gender equality. Particularly, the committee is responsible for research and the elaboration of proposals regarding the promotion (in the family, education and other social structures) of the principle of gender equality. Further, the committee monitors the safeguarding and the implementation of this principle by the administration. The committee is also concerned with matters regarding the respect and protection of human rights.
According to Law 4604/2019, there is an Equality Office of the Association of Greek Regions. In addition, all 13 Regions will have a Regional Committee for Gender Equality. However, only five of them are in place, as of December 2020. All the Committees have similar mandates and competencies.
Regional Committee for Gender Equality Functions
- Ensuring and supporting the integration of gender equality in the development of regional policies concerning the Gender Secretariat for Gender Equality’s policies
- Making proposals and suggestions to the competent bodies of the region regarding necessary measures to promote gender equality in all areas of economic, political, and social life
- Suggesting the inclusion of relevant projects to the regional council
- Cooperating with the Counselling Centre of the Gender Secretariat for gender equality in the region, as well as with civil society actors
Similarly, at local level, a Committee for the Promotion and Monitoring of Gender Equality Policies in Local Government was established in March 2017 to formulate proposals and legislative interventions for gender equality in local government and to monitor local action plans. Similar to the regional committees for gender equality, the local Committees for the Promotion and Monitoring of Gender Equality Policies in Local Government are not administrative bodies.
According to Article 8 of Law 4604 on promoting substantive gender equality, and preventing and combating gender-based violence, independent offices for gender equality are to be established in the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE, Κεντρική Ένωση Δήμων Ελλάδας) and the Association of Regions (EN.PE. Ένωση Περιφερειών Ελλάδας).
Independent offices for gender equality Functions
- Informing the municipal and regional councils on the establishment of the regional and municipal committees for gender equality, respectively
- Cooperating with municipalities and regions to formulate and implement local and regional projects and activities on gender equality
- Cooperating with elected and candidate women in local authorities to develop networks of partnerships with local bodies to increase the active participation of women in decision-making in local government
- Informing women about the activities of the independent offices for gender equality, the General Secretariat for Family Policy and Gender Equality and other bodies active in the field of gender equality
Consultation with civil society
Consultation with civil society takes place through the National Council of Greek Women. It was founded in 1908 and was the first Federation of Women's Organizations in Greece. It involved a wide range of members and works to promote gender equality and the position of women in all areas of life, as well as young people and works closely with national and international bodies to promote women’s rights. Moreover, GSDFPGE and KETHI collaborate with NGOs related to women’s rights and gender equality who participate in meetings, conferences, and consultations.
Methods and tools
Gender impact assessment and gender budgeting
In Greece, gender budgeting is currently in use, although gender impact assessments are not carried out. However, the use of these gender mainstreaming tools is set to improve. In 2021, following the provisions of Law 4604/2019 introducing central government gender budgeting (Art. 11), the GSDFPGE submitted a request for technical support under the EU’s Technical Structure Instrument (TSI) cycle 2022 entitled, ‘Strengthening capacity for gender-sensitive recovery: Introducing gender impact assessment in central public policies/budgets.’ The goal is to develop gender impact assessments and gender budgeting methodologies, organise staff training courses and implement pilot programmes on the topics in selected ministries (including the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs, Interior and Finance). A Memorandum of Cooperation has also been signed with the National Centre for Public Administration & Local Government to implement training modules that will include gender budgeting. In relation to current measures to implement gender budgeting, Article 11 of Law 4604 on promoting substantive gender equality, preventing, and combating gender-based violence, incorporates a gender perspective into public budgets. Each ministry and public enterprise must incorporate the gender dimension into the preparation of their general budget and accompanying programmes.
Training and awareness-raising
Over the past three years, several public events and workshops have taken place and printed materials have been disseminated to raise awareness of gender equality among ministries and other governmental bodies. Examples of recent public events organised by the governmental body for gender equality include the ‘Women and health’ event to raise awareness among ministries, the ‘2018 Social and solidarity economy’, women's entrepreneurship events, and the 2019 presentation of the annual report of the governmental body for gender equality on the implemented actions on gender equality of the municipalities. In addition to the 2019 presentation of co-funded projects implemented with the cooperation of partners from academia, research centres and NGOs, initiatives undertaken in 2020 included, ‘PEGASUS: research and policy proposals on gender pension gap,’ and ‘Gender public debate: Women's empowerment in the public sphere and combating sexist stereotypes.’
The use of gender-sensitive language by ministries and other governmental bodies was also a focus over the past three years. This is explicitly discussed in the 2018 ‘Guide to the use of non-sexist language in public documents’, and the ‘Practical Guide for female politicians to combat sexism in public discourse,’ published in 2020.
The National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government delivers training courses to civil servants on gender equality on an annual basis, in collaboration with the GSDFPGE. However, the provision of such training courses is not mandatory.
There is an ongoing collaboration, formalised through a memorandum, between the Observatory of Gender Equality of the General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality and the National Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) to collect data disaggregated by sex. There is a legal mandate to collect sex-disaggregated data under the Law on Substantive Gender Equality 4604/2019 (Article 13), which stipulates that public services and legal entities should collect gender-based statistics on areas falling within their responsibility.
The General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender equality has a specific webpage where analysis of gender statistics is available, and broken down by thematic areas. This is a core hub for the dissemination of publications including regular newsletters and e-bulletins issued by the Gender Secretariat. However, dissemination may be hindered overall as there is no section dedicated to gender statistics on ELSTAT’s.
Indicators for monitoring progress on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the EU, under Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action
This section analyses the scores achieved by Greece for data collection in 2021 for the four officially agreed-on indicators on institutional mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming to monitor progress on Area H of the Beijing Platform for Action. It also analyses scores under an expanded measurement framework, which includes the role of independent gender equality bodies and assesses the effectiveness of efforts to disseminate statistics disaggregated by sex. Institutional mechanisms refer to national machineries that implement, monitor, evaluate, and mobilise support for policies that promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming. All indicators and sub-indicators are available on the Gender Statistics Database here, including metadata about how the scores are calculated.
For Indicator H1 on the status of commitment to the promotion of gender equality, and taking into account only the governmental commitment in line with the officially adopted indicator, Greece scored 8.0 out of a possible 12, above the EU average of 7.2. It scored highly on sub-indicator H1d on the scope and functions of the governmental gender equality body where it scored the maximum of 3 points because the body is exclusively focused on gender equality and carries out all relevant functions.
Under an expanded measurement framework, which includes sub-indicator H1f on the mandate and functions of the independent gender equality body, Greece scored an additional 1.5 points, out of a possible 3. It lost 1.0 point because the mandate of the independent gender equality body is gender equality combined with other non-discrimination areas, rather than exclusively focused on gender equality. The overall score for the expanded H1 indicator was 9.5 out of a possible 15, above the EU average of 9.1.
Indicator H2 analyses the personnel resources of the national gender equality bodies. For sub-indicator H2a, regarding the governmental gender equality body, Greece scored the maximum of 2 points, along with Denmark, Spain, and Sweden, which was twice the EU average of 1.0, because there was the equivalent of 100 or more employees in the governmental body working on gender equality. For sub-indicator H2b, regarding the independent body, Greece’s score was 1.0, against an EU average of 0.8; it lost 1.0 points for this sub-indicator because there were only 10-25 employees working on gender equality in the independent body.
Indicator H3 relates to gender mainstreaming. Here, Greece scored 5.5 out of a maximum possible 12, which was above the EU average of 5.1. Greece lost 3.7 points, out of the maximum possible score of 6, on sub-indicator H3c on the commitment to and use of methods and tools for gender mainstreaming. This is because there is no legal obligation to undertake an ex-ante gender impact assessment, gender budgeting is still in its foundational stages, and all or most government employees and employees at the highest political level receive no gender equality training.
Under an expanded measurement framework, which includes sub-indicator H3d on consultation of the independent equality body, Greece scored 5.8 out of a maximum of 14, which was also higher than the EU average which increased to 5.4. Under sub-indicator H3d, Greece lost both available points because the independent gender equality body is only consulted by departments or ministries on new or existing policies, law, or programmes in a few cases.
For Indicator H4 on the production and dissemination of statistics disaggregated by sex, Greece scored 4.5 points, out of a possible 6, above the EU average of 3.4. It lost 1.0 points on sub-indicator H4c because statistics disaggregated by sex are disseminated through the website of the governmental gender equality body rather than the National Statistical Authority, which may mean statistics do not reach policy makers outside of gender equality issues.
 Law on Substantive Gender Equality, Preventing and Combating Gender Based Violence (2019) https://isotita.gr/en/law-4604-2019-substantive-gender-equality-preventing-combating-gender-based-violence/
 Law on the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and the adaptation of Greek legislation (Istanbul Convention) (2018) (Κύρωση της Σύμβασης του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης για την Πρόληψη και την Καταπολέμηση της Βίας κατά των γυναικών και της Ενδοοικογενειακής Βίας και προσαρμογή της ελληνικής νομοθεσίας). Government Gazette (ΦΕΚ) 62/Α/5-4-2018.
 National Action Plan and Strategy on gender equality 2021-2025 https://isotita.gr/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/%CE%95%CE%A3%CE%94%CE%99%CE%A6-2021-2025.pdf
 Hellenic Republic (2022). National Reform Programme 2022 https://commission.europa.eu/system/files/2022-05/greece_nrp_2022_en.pdf
 Article 4 of Presidential Decree 81 (2019) https://www.airetos.gr/UsersFiles/Documents/proedrikodiatagmakyvernisi.pdf
 Equinet (n.d.) Office of the Greek Ombudsman https://equineteurope.org/eb/cp-slug-179/#:~:text=The%20Greek%20Ombudsman%20is%20the,sexual%20orientation%20and%20gender%20identity.
 Special Permanent Committee on Equality, Youth and Human Rights (n.d.) https://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Koinovouleftikes-Epitropes/CommiteeDetailView?CommitteeId=2d342200-050c-484a-bdaa-ad979c9a9425
 Hellenic Parliament (n.d.) Parliamentary Committees
 National Council of Greek Women (n.d.), ‘Home’, http://ncgw.org/
 National Council of Greek Women (n.d.). http://ncgw.org/%cf%84%ce%b1-%ce%bc%ce%ad%ce%bb%ce%b7/
 Memorandum of cooperation between the Observatory of Gender Equality of the General Secretariat for Demography and Family Policy and Gender Equality and the National Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
 General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender Equality, Statistics - Studies (n.d.) https://isotita.gr/statistika-stoixeia-meletes/