The prototypes of the conservative decades of the past made for male-dominated societies with women confined to formal roles within the home, dependent on and subjugated to their husband and dedicated to raising the children.
On these prototypes were built inter-gender relations in which men controlled women and sexist behaviour was par for the course. They lingered even after women’s role in society had changed.
Even today the model of the man as a dynastic protector who wants women groveling at his feet, serving him and satisfying his desires remains strong.
It fuels violent behaviour and leads to humiliating and horrible events such as those that have come to light recently in our country.
It was and remains common knowledge that in many cases those with power and influence consider sexual harassment almost as if it were a privilege or right.
Countless men and women can relate and describe offensive, controlling, and abusive stances and behaviours of men toward women who work for or with them.
In workplaces and social environments, athletics, in the arts and culture, the media, academia, the judiciary, security forces, the army, and indeed everywhere that the stereotypes of a male-dominated society are evidenced one still sees arbitrary, violent, and hurtful behaviours that wound women and prevent their advancement and progress.
This is not just a Greek phenomenon. A wave of condemnation of sexual harassment and of the exploitation of the dominating role of men in relation to women over the last years flooded Hollywood. It revealed and highlighted rapes, blackmail, and extreme harassment that stem from positions of power and dominance.
The case of Harvey Weinstein is characteristic and reflects the conditions that even high-profile or famous women must deal with.
In Greece, the #MeToo movement did not find fertile ground in which it could grow.
There were general charges at first without specific references that prevented the highlighting of the phenomenon and of the hidden wound that tortures, haunts, and remains deeply ingrained in a large number of women in our country.
It took the courageous stance of Sofia Bekatorou for mouths to open and for countless hidden incidents of harassment and sexual violence against women to be aired.
Right now in Greece we are seeing a wave of revelations which, if nothing else, can hopefully avert or at least limit the many forms of sexual harassment and violence.
This can help establish the necessary conditions for the equal treatment of and opportunities for women in the workplace and in social milieux.
In contemporary societies there is no room for gender discrimination.
Women have broken through the once impenetrable male fortresses.
The presence and achievements of womenin the sciences, in the field of the arts and culture, in business, and in politics are remarkable and are recognised as a sign of progress and a pillar of economic and social development.
International studies have shown that business groups and organisations that have eradicated all types of discrimination are more efficient and creative.
For a host of reasons it is completely unacceptable to tolerate any kind of discrimination, which in the final analysis is a sign of backwardness and underdevelopment