A new page after yesterday’s elections- A trickle of increase in women

The page has turned in Greece, through the result of yesterday’s elections. The people who gave this resultn have hope for a new political road, for the promotion of social justice in all its forms, including what we are more specifically concerned about: gender equality and women’s rights.

Before the elections, we wondered, in the article of our editorial committee, about the narrow horizon of the election campaign, about its limitation to economic issues and the debt, and we expressed our agony about the absence, with few exeptions, of any broader social question of great importance for the citizens and for women’s rights.

Hundreds of activists came to Greece from abroad to express the solidarity of political forces of the left and of the social movements, and to celebrate together with the suffering citizens the expected victory against a government that was anti-popular and aggressive in every sense. Among them were many feminists, who approached us, took interviews, showed their interest for the situation of the feminist movement in Greece and declared their availability for networking in common actions at a European level, published our articles from “To Mov”, but they also reiterated their belief, which we absolutely share, to the importance of the autonomy of the feminist movement from parties, state and mechanisms.

Now we have a new Parliament, which fortunately has more women. The new greater percentage of women is 23,33%, in comparison to the previous 21%. This percentage, is indeed higher, nevertheless meager if compared with our target of equal representation of women and men in decision-making centers. The current parliament has 70 women from all parties (scroll down for details). We hope that some of these female Members of Parliament, unfortunately we foresee only a few, will assist for the struggle for women’s rights. In any case, the increase of women in Parliament is objectively a positive fact, from the point of view of the struggle for women’s political rights, in the way it was supported during the struggle for women’s vote. This right to vote was conquered in 1952 in Greece, but the right to be elected is obstructed socially and through all the mechanisms.

If we don’t want to idealize the situation, we must say that there has been a celebration of personal election mechanisms and individualistic strategies this time, as in the past, from candidates of most parties, including many women who did not abstain from this unpleasant activity. Personal leaflets, personal social events, the use of mechanisms and of nepotism and of friendly media, were all too obvious, therefore once more we will stress that those who get the most personal votes in the elections are not the most worthy ones in any party. The cross of preference and popularity very often are connected with the above activities, but this is, unfortunately, the pitiful democracy that we have, and the one we are going to change completely, hopefully, one day. First of all we must change the way of thinking, and this is a precious service provided by the feminist movement, even if it has a limited audience.

Now, we specify the election of women by party, and their percentage (Greek Parliament has 300 Members)

SYRIZA 149 MPs in total, of who 45 women, percentage of women 30,20% (the highest)

NEW DEMOCRACY 76 MPs, 10 women, percentage 13,15%

GOLDEN DAWN (unfortunately – fascists) 17 MPs, 2 women, percentage 11,76%

POTAMI 17 MPs, 4 women, percentage 23,5%

COMMUNIST PARTY 15 MPs, 4 women, percentage 26,66%

INDEPENDENT GREEKS 13 MPs, women 3, percentage 23,07%

PASOK 13 MPs, 2 women, percentage 15,38%

The percentage of women on SYRIZA fell in comparison to the elections of 2012 (then it was 35%), but the increase of the total number of MPs brought the increase of women’s participation in Parliament, and improved the total percentage by 2,3%.

Finally, we can say that the undemocratic electoral system, with the ceiling of 3% for the entrance of any party in Parliament, obstructed some parties to enter Parliament, or even to submit their candidacy at all, which disempowers the pluralism that is necessary for every society. It also enhanced the mentality but also the reality of the “lost vote”, which is equally undemocratic. We hope that this will also be abolished one day.

Vera Siaterli, Alexandra Makri, Sissy Vovou 

26 January 2015