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Women's Wages and Equal Pay in Greece Zafiris Tzannatos Introduction and Summary In January 1981, Greece became a full member of the European Economic Community (EEC) and assumed the same obligations to comply with community law as other member states. In the domestic social policy field this meant that Greece had to comply among others with the Community's directives on equal pay, treatment and opportunities for women in the labor market. As a matter of fact, the harmonization of social policy in Greece with that of the European Community started before the official date of entry. After the demise of the Junta, the 1975 Constitution explicitly guaranteed the equality of men and women (Article 4, paragraph 2) and provided for a transitory period up to 1982 for the amendment of all legal provisions in the statutes which were contrary to the equality of sexes (Article 116, paragraph 1). Collective agreements gradually ceased to specify differential wage rates for female and male workers and from 1978 they refer to workers in general. In addition, Law 1414 of 1984 specifically provided for equality and non-discrimination between the sexes in all aspects of employment. Finally, a number of other pieces of legislation safeguarded the position of women in the labor market (Marangopoulos 1986: 97-98). This paper examines the rise of female pay relative to male pay between 1981 and 1982. It refers to only one year at the beginning of the operation of the law, but the method of analysis is of interest and, I believe, justifies the limited scope. The analysis is based on twenty manufacturing industries in Greece which employ one-third of all paid women workers and more than half of women employees in the private sector. The data show that the ratio of average female to average male wage increased by 9% in 1982. This increase derives mostly from a genuine improvement of women's wages within industries rather than from changes in the industrial distribution of women's Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 7, 1989. 155 156 Zafiris Tzannatos employment from low-pay to high pay industries or from deterioration of men's wages. The ratio of average female to male wage has since increased further and now appears to have stabilized at a new higher plateau. This may be a consequence of additional legislation on sex discrimination and the enforcement of incomes policies with egalitarian provisions introduced since 1982. Female Employment and Pay Greek women workers are no exception to the established international patterns of female employment; they tend to work before marriage, then bear and rear children and may start working again later in their lives. An important factor to keep in mind, however, when studying women workers in Greece is that Greece still employs 30% of her labor force in agriculture (ILO 1983: Table 2A, 1981 Census figures). The potential effects of equal pay are thus seriously limited. As Table 1 illustrates, 36.2% of all working women are unpaid family workers and more than 80% of these women (or 29.3% of the total) are employed in agriculture. If the self-employed women in agriculture are also included, then the employment in agriculture accounts for more than 40% of all working women. The self-employed and unpaid family workers fall outside the scope of any equal pay reform as the legislation covers only workers in paid employment (employer discrimination). Thus the potential effect of the implementation of equal pay in Greece applies to less than half of the total female labor force. TABLE I—Employment Distribution of Women by Sector, 1981 Self-Employed Paid Unpaid Family Workers Workers Agriculture .113 .010 .293 Mining Manufacturing .023 .140 .014 Utilities .004 Construction .001 Trade .040 .062 .050 Transport .001 .022 .001 Finance .006 .028 .001 Social Services .015 .172 .003 All Sectors .198 .439 .362 Source: 1981 Census in ILO 1983. Note: The number of working women in 1981 was 219,400, 485,900 and 400,700 for the self-employed, paid and unpaid workers respectively. The corresponding figures for men were 1,118,100, 1,213,300 and 92,300. Equal Pay for Greek Women? 157 Of waged and salaried...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 155-169
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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