You can use this article to learn about your rights as a woman in Greece related to:
- Reporting a crime or harassment
- Marriage and family life
- The asylum process
If you have any more questions about women’s rights in Greece, please don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook.
Rights in the asylum process
When families apply for asylum, the asylum cases of parents and children are linked.
Although all family members have the same case number, the asylum case of each person is treated individually. You have the right to request a separate case number, for any reason and at any time, between the beginning of your asylum process and the end of your asylum interview. After this point, the spouses’ files cannot be divided unless the couple can officially prove that they are separated.
You also have the right to access information that can help you make informed decisions about any phase of the asylum process, including legal information tailored to your situation.
Right to report a crime
If you experience a crime, you have the right to submit a complaint to the police or to any competent judicial authority. This is how you can access and follow all the relevant legal procedures.
Public servants and officials are obligated to thoroughly investigate your case and immediately notify the public prosecutor of any information regarding a crime.
Greek legislation favors gender equality and prohibits discrimination against women and girls. In Greece, sexual harassment is punishable by law. This includes any unfair treatment in response to you rejecting or resisting an unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical act of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment is punished by imprisonment for up to 3 years or by a fine.
Female genital mutilation is also considered a crime and prohibited in Greece. Anyone who encourages or convinces a woman to suffer genital mutilation in any way is punished by imprisonment.
Right to access health services
In Greece, women have the right to make decisions over their lives and bodies. You can decide if and when you wish to have kids. If you are pregnant and wish to stop your pregnancy, you have the right to access safe abortion care. You can learn more about your rights and pregnancy in Greece You can learn more about your rights and pregnancy in Greece here.
You can also learn more about health services in Greece, including how to access pharmaceutical and medical care, even if you don’t have a social security number (AMKA) on our Service map.
Please note that the Service Map provides information in English, but you can send us a message on Facebook to direct you to NGOs, service providers and public services according to your needs.
Rights in a marriage
You have the right to choose your spouse and decide if you want to marry. Forced marriage is illegal in Greece. A wedding that has been officiated because of threat, deception or fraud can be annulled by a court decision.
Marriage between minors is also illegal in Greece. According to Greek law, only people aged 18 and over can get married. However, exceptions can be made if a court considers the best interest and opinion of the underage couple.
Greece recognizes a cohabitation agreement as an alternative to marriage. This is a legal agreement between a couple who choose to live together, allowing them similar rights as a married couple.
Within a marriage, you have the legal right to be respected and not to be insulted in any way, whether physically, emotionally or sexually. A woman needs to consent to any sexual interaction with her husband. Using threats, violence or any forced sexual act from a husband is a criminal offence.
Rights in a divorce
You have the right to ask for a divorce. In this case, the custody of the children is assigned to one of the parents without gender-based discrimination or can be assigned to both parents if they agree.
When one of the parents holds custody of the children, the other has the right to apply to the court to visit and communicate with his / her children. A court decision can set specific visiting hours.
Rights in a family
In Greece, parents have equal authority over their children.
Children born out of wedlock have equal rights as those born within marriage or a cohabitation agreement. Fathers must provide financial support for out-of-wedlock children if a court decides so.
The use of violence within the family is prohibited by law. Parents are not allowed to use violence against children; anyone can report such an incident and take the parents to court.
Women also have equal inheritance rights as men and are allowed to own any property.
Rights at work
6 months after being fully registered, female asylum-seekers have the right to work in Greece. Female-recognized refugees have the right to work in Greece, and they can even start their own businesses.
According to Greek law, men and women have equal employment rights and deserve to be paid equally. Women need to have equal access as men to education, vocational training, employment and work development opportunities.
Any work should be paid. Forced labor or payment in the form of food or housing is illegal. It is also illegal for an employer not to hire a woman because she is pregnant or a mother.
As an employee in Greece, you have the right to report any mistreatment in terms of payments, bonuses, overtime payments and benefits to a Department of the Greek Ministry of Labor called “Body of Employment Inspectors” («Σώμα Επιθεώρησης Εργασίας», in Greek). A list with all Employment Inspectors’ offices in Greece can be found here.
You also have the right to access any social support, like an unemployment card or financial benefits of any kind.
As for all employees in Greece, a full-time job should not exceed 40 hours per week and employees should get paid overtime if they work more than this.
You can learn more about workers’ rights in Greece here, including information on the minimum wage, tax rate, sick pay and pensions.
Rights as a mother
A working mother-to-be in Greece receives full insurance from her employer and has the right to 17 weeks of maternity leave. Generally, the mother can start taking leave 8 weeks before the estimated time of birth.
After maternity leave, a newborn's mother is entitled to breastfeeding and childcare leave. This leave allows you to work 1 hour less per day for 30 months. This means if you work 8 hours a day, you can work for 7 hours a day over 30 months.
You can rearrange these hours to suit your needs and discuss your options with your employer. For example, you could take continuous paid leave or take 1 day off per week.
Even after this breastfeeding and childcare leave, you are entitled to: - Special maternity leave for up to 6 months, to be arranged with your employer. - 3.5 months of unpaid childcare leave before the child reaches the age of 3.5 and after you’ve completed a year working for the same employer. - 4 days of paid leave per year to attend teacher-parent meetings if your child is younger than 16 and attends school in Greece between kindergarten and high school level.
You can receive 4 days of parental leave for your children attending school. For example, if you have 2 children under 16 years old, you have 8 days of paid leave to attend parent-teacher meetings. A father could also ask to take this leave — it’s up to the parents to decide who will attend the school meetings.
The information in this article was provided with the help of lawyers at the organization Diotima, which specializes in women’s rights.