Women and crime in Greece
There is a lot of concern regarding the rise of femicide cases in Greece lately. Seven
women were brutally murdered by their husbands or boyfriends the last seven months.
It is certainly a disturbing issue.
Looking back at the position of women in Greece, we see that a feminist movement
started towards the end of the 19 th century, which promoted progressive ideas and
brought some changes to the social and political life of the country.
It was not until 1952, however, that Greek women gained the right to vote
and no drastic changes were made in other areas, such as family law.
The first female lawyer was called to the bar in Athens in 1925, but it was not until 1955 that
women were allowed to become judges. In 1983, Greece signed the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Certainly, more girls started attending university in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and more women
joined the workforce, often at responsible jobs, but men still held the higher positions.
In larger cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, women had a more integrated role in
society, but in the rural areas, patriarchy remained prominent.
Women were still deemed to be more fit or naturally inclined for domestic chores and rearing children, which is still the prevailing notion in many societies.
Feminism and Eurocommunism brought more progressive views on women's rights in
Family honor and reputation often depended on the “purity” of a daughter or a sister.
Premarital relationships were deemed immoral and ethically damaging. Children born
out of wedlock were considered illegitimate and an embarrassment to a family. Hence,
large numbers of illegal abortions were performed for fear of smearing the family.
On the other hand, there were no restrictions for men. On the contrary, a young man
was regarded something like a “proud stallion” when he had several girlfriends, who, of
course, were someone’s daughters or sisters. They exhausted their moral code on their
own sisters’ or daughters’ purity only!
Homosexuality was considered abnormal and almost an anathema.
The above views were not unique to Greeks and changes were slowly happening in the
Family Law changes were introduced in the 1980s. Civil weddings were
legalized in 1983 and married women were allowed to keep their maiden names after
marriage if they wished. Abortion was legalized in 1986. In 2006, domestic violence,
including marital rape, was criminalized.
Discrimination in the workplace still existed although not as noticeable. Female
representation in the government is still low. There are only a few women in the current
government (Nea Democratia).
Despite social, political, and employment changes, there is still domestic abuse and a
rather high femicide rate. There are many factors contributing to this kind of crime.
Although we cannot refer to them in detail here, we can highlight the main contributing
factors: male dominance, upbringing, and special economical circumstances.
The economic crisis in Greece and subsequent high unemployment rate had an effect
on family life. Domestic abuse cases and divorces increased. Unemployment was
reduced by 10% in 2016-2019 but has been increasing since 2019. Due to the
coronavirus pandemic, there have been lockdowns and more people struggling
Unfortunately, the government has not been helping the low and middle
classes and people are becoming increasingly frustrated. They frequently take their
frustration to the person closest to them, who is their life partner. Financial hardship
frequently affects people emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Also, when a man raised in a strong patriarch family environment or an innate control
freak believes that he is losing control over his female partner, he may become abusive
and even homicidal, inconsiderate of the effect of his actions on his children, often very
A woman is not someone’s property. She has the same rights as a person and a citizen
as her male counterpart, whether a life partner or co-citizen. Stricter laws for femicide
should be enacted and families should be extensively educated about human rights and
It must be a co-operative effort.