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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER 2019 23 OPINION ‘Stop the Turkish invasion of Syria’ The Pontian Community’s open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison The Federation of Pontian Associations wrote an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, urging him to use his influence to halt the Turkish invasion of Syria. Dear Prime Minister, On behalf of all our members, we would like to thank you for taking the initiative and asking our Ambassador in Turkey to plead the case for a halt to the Turkish invasion in Syria. Our Federation as well as its members and the Greek community have been working very closely with the Assyrian refugee community (many of whom were brought here under Tony Abbott's 'persecuted minorities' program). The horrors faced by the Assyrians as well as the Yazidis and now the Kurds have been traumatic and very destabilising. With the escape of hundreds The Pontian community hopes to sway Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to see the benefits of calling off the Turkish invasion of Syria. of ISIS/ISIL prisoners, we are pleading with the Australian government to put more to pressure on Turkey to stop its horrific campaign in Syria against the Kurds as well as other minority groups. Their increasing authoritarian regime as well as aggressive stance to all their neighbours has been appeased by members of the global community for far too long. We have many friends in the Turkish community here in Australia. We therefore emphasise that our appeal is not an attack on the Turkish people but a matter of human rights and the rights of mi- Members of the Federation of Pontian Associations. nority communities to lead a safe and peaceful life regardless of their ethnicity, religion and country of origin. It is time that the Australian Government use its unique relationship with Turkey to be firm and honest and showcase that aggression has consequences. Our ancestors, be they Turkish, Greek or Australian, sacrificed their lives for us to live a better life. The actions in Syria are an affront to all humanity and to the values that these people laid their lives down for. There is a time that leaders with strong moral convictions take a stance and that time has come for Australia. Winston Churchill once said "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." We hope that you stand with the persecuted minorities and use the full power of the prestigious office you hold to protect these people, and show the world that Australia does not reward or appease aggressive behaviour from any country, and more so by if said country is a friend. Our friends are a reflection of who we are and hence we must hold them a higher standard. We have faith that you and the Government will do the right thing. Good Health and God Bless Υεϊαν κ'ευλοϊαν Peter Stefanidis, President of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia Nikolaos Makridis, Secretary of the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia MARY SINANIDIS Sexism and misogyny are rooted in ancient Athens where women were once viewed as possessions of men and did not enjoy citizenship rights because of their gender. Despite being the cradle of philosophy, Greek women of antiquity – apart from rare exceptions – were unable to partake in political debate. Historian Don Nardo said "throughout antiquity most Greek women had few or no civil rights and many enjoyed little freedom of choice or mobility. During the Hellenistic period in Athens, the famous philosopher Aristotle thought that women would bring disorder, evil, and were "utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy." Women were kept separate in a gynaeceum and looked after their homes. They had little knowledge of money, let alone control of it. Women's liberation may have brought about some changes, however achieving gender equality has been a slow process in the country where women only got voting rights in 1952 and the legal obligations of dowry were abolished in the '80s. Despite the gender inequalities that still exist today, women's representation is still scant in Greek Parliament where men continue to dominate. Overall, women account for less than 20 per cent of parliamentarians, Misogyny is a Greek word too Greece is at the bottom of the Gender Equality Index 2019. and men control the boards of large corporations and central banks. When the current Greek government came to power, conservative Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented a cabinet of 22 with just two women representatives. Mr Mitsotakis said that this was due to women's lack of "interest in stepping into politics these days." He told the BBC he had asked a lot of women to join the cabinet, but they were "more hesitant than men to do so". There are many reasons 'why' women hold back from positions of power, including the obstacles placed in their way such as lack of childcare support which makes motherhood a barrier to climbing the career ladder. The obvious practical issues can be fixed, however attitudes are harder to change. From a young age, little girls and women enlisted to serve guests at family gatherings while the sons ride their bicycles or relax with other male relatives. It's a country where men are still viewed as 'studs' for having extramarital affairs, and women of power are judged for their ability to coordinate their outfits as much as their skills. The local media hones in on 'sexy women' of Greek parliament and tears to shred women like former Greek president of Greek Parliament, lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou, for not conforming to feminine norms. In the streets, objectification of women is rampant with no policing to monitor whether laws of public decency are adhered to. All one needs to do is drive down Syngrou Avenue, one of the main roads of Greece, dotted with posters of women in lascivious poses advertising some club or strip joint or the like. Nobody bats an eye lid, as they are viewed as normal by the city's commuters and their young observers who grow up in a society where gender inequality and the objectification for women are the norm. Everyday sexism is difficult to recognise when perceptions have been formulated over time and are taken for granted. But just because Greece is a place where women can keep their own surnames after marriage, wear what they want and go to work, does not mean that gender inequalities are not deeply engrained. Women still do most of the household chores and childraising, and men still dominate when it comes to the serious decision-making of the household, including finances. For better or for worse, it is the EU country with the least children born out of wedlock and the one with the lowest levels of divorce. Bearing in mind the attitudes and structures of Greek society, it came as little surprise when the Gender Equality Index 2019 put Greece last in its efforts to bridge the gender equality gap. While the gender gap is closing "at a snail's pace", Greece is at the bottom of the ranking with 51.2 per cent, coming behind Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. Sweden stays firmly on top – boasting 83.6 points – followed by Denmark's 77.5 points, well above the EU average of 67.4 per cent. Other countries, like Cyprus, Estonia and Italy showed considerable improvement in the scores that covered six core domains: work, money, knowledge, time, power and health. On basically every aspect of everyday life – from worklife balance to childcare, from political decision-making to how much money you've got in your pocket – much remains to be done before gender equality is reached, as sexist stereotypes and preconceptions still shape attitudes and behaviours.
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