ATHENS — The pandemic is a hard, painful experience for everyone and exacerbates, among other things, the problems faced by women today," President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Thursday in her keynote address on the occasion of International Women's Day, during the interparliamentary debate held in the European Parliament on the key role of women in the fight against Covid-19.
During the debate, held with the participation of MEPs and MPs from EU national parliaments, Sakellaropoulou stressed that International Women's Day is celebrated this year in special circumstances and stressed that in her position as President of the Hellenic Republic, which for the first time in its history has a woman serving in this high position, she feels responsible for the struggle that women have given and are giving to respond to the very unfavourable conditions of this period.
She referred to her personal experience from her visits throughout Greece and in particular to hospitals and vaccination centers, underlining the selflessness, devotion, willingness of women working in the field of health – the doctors, nurses, and health personnel – to contribute.
Sakellaropoulou also pointed out the difficult conditions for women in areas that have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic, such as cleaners, domestic workers, nurses, saleswomen or supermarket cashiers. "Women working in sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic generally offer their services at lower pay than men, in precarious conditions and with the spectre of unemployment hovering relentlessly over them. Women who have shouldered, almost exclusively, the burden of home and family care, this 'invisible work' that is not paid and is often not recognised," added Sakellaropoulou.
She made a special reference to migrant women and refugees living in fear and misery, who are often victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour, and multiple abuses. Older women, vulnerable and lonely women with meager incomes. Women victims of domestic violence.
"Inequalities are not overthrown overnight. Equality is a challenge that concerns not only women but all of us, especially those of us who have the opportunity to contribute to the formulation and implementation of modern policies to achieve this goal," Sakellaropoulou underlined.