Welcome to the eighth installment in the ongoing Local Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight series. In these blog posts, we’ll be exploring how various countries around the world address diversity and inclusion in their culture and workplace.
Our newest spotlight country? Greece, a country that celebrates its Independence Day in March.
Here are some things to know about diversity and inclusion in Greece.
Note: Information is excerpted from GlobeSmart Culture Guides.
Given the traditional hierarchies in Greek society, women are not usually found in senior-management roles. Still, expect to see some changes occurring, as women increasingly take on important and sometimes powerful positions.
Greek society, in general, is traditionally male dominated, though this is beginning to change. Greek women continue to fill increasingly important roles in local businesses, and some occupy powerful positions. Women and men in similar roles are generally treated the same. However, women are not generally found in senior-management roles outside of multinational organizations, nor are they usually given much flexibility to balance family obligations and work. Behavior that may be considered sexual harassment in some other countries does occur, though it is rarely reported. There have also been instances of employer discrimination against female staff that wish to have children.
As a foreign woman, show confidence in your role and work-related abilities, but try to avoid appearing aggressive toward Greek colleagues.
Foreign women succeed in Greece when they express confidence — but not aggressiveness — in their work-related abilities. It can be effective for a female foreign manager to have senior-level Greeks show her respect in front of colleagues, peers, and employees who report to her.
Homosexual relations are legal in Greece. Same-sex couples have some legal recognition, but same-sex marriage is not legal.
Male homosexual relations have been legal in Greece since 1951. The Greek Criminal Code does not acknowledge lesbians. In general LGBT individuals do not have the same rights as in some other European countries, although this is changing somewhat. The Greek state does not recognize same-sex marriage, but does recognize “civil unions” for same-sex couples with some legal protections and rights.
Single LGBT people can adopt children; however joint adoption by LGBT couples and stepchild adoption is not legal.
There are laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 2005, legislation was passed prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, especially among the older generation, there is still a stigma attached to LGBTs. Being openly gay can affect one’s employment opportunities.
Hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics are prohibited in Greece. The country’s economic turmoil (set off by the global recession in 2008) coincided with a surge in violence against gays and lesbians. Since then, many additional laws and protections for LGBT individuals have been enacted.
There is movement toward increased tolerance of gays in Greece. However, public displays of affection by homosexuals still invite stares and adverse comments.
Greeks are generally less tolerant about open homosexuality than many fellow Europeans. However, Greek society is changing, especially since the turn of the millennium. LGBT groups are much stronger now and frequently launch public campaigns against discrimination.
An Athens Pride parade and festival, which has been held in the capital for several years, is officially promoted by city authorities. A small concentration of gay-friendly bars can be found in Athens. The most LGBT-tolerant place in Greece is the village of Eressos, on the Aegean island of Lesbos, home to the ancient poet Sappho. The tourist island of Mykonos also has a major gay scene.
In general, while the LGBT community is growing more visible, foreigners who want to avoid uncomfortable encounters are advised to refrain from public displays of affection.
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