ATHENS – With only five women in his 48-member Cabinet – and only one as a minister – new Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis had to defend his man-heavy makeup and said it was because Greek women were hesitant to take part.
Without fully explaining what that meant – if Greek women didn’t care about politics? – he told the BBC’s Hardtalk program that he wanted more women in politics and his own Cabinet but many weren’t interested in joining.
The official photo of the Cabinet shows how dominant the males are and with Culture Minister Linda Mendoni the only one to head a ministry. The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA had no trouble attracting women to the Cabinet of then-Premier Alexis Tsipras.
“Unfortunately we don’t have that many women who were interested in stepping into politics,” Mitsotakis said, adding that he had sought to bring more in. “We put a quota for women – 40 percent of our candidates were women, which is a big step forward,” he told Hardtalk’s Zeinab Badawi, noting however that the composition of Parliament does not reflect this either.
“I asked a lot of women to join the cabinet, they were much more hesitant than men to do so,” he said. “So I’m not happy about our gender composition, I openly acknowledge it.” He didn’t identify who turned him down.
As for the women who are in his cabinet, he described them as “extremely capable” and said he was sure they would do a “fantastic job” and help other women join the government.
He didn’t explain why he didn’t name former Tourism and Culture Minister Olga Kefalogianni, who served New Democracy from 2012-15, to a Cabinet position after her tenure was widely hailed.
She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law from She was graduated from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1997, holds a Master of Laws degree in Commercial and Business Law from King’s College London and a a second Master’s degree in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University outside Boston, which has Constantine G. Karamanlis Chair in Hellenic and European Studies. That’s named for the late former four-time Prime Minister and two-time President of Greece.