Survey exposes multiple discrimination
Study conducted by National Center for Social Research shows Greece still has problem with difference, diversity
We may not realize it, or want to admit it, but we live in a world where young men who are native to the country they live in rule the roost. All others – women, migrants, the elderly, LGBT, the disabled and anyone foreign or of a different religion to the majority – are less equal than them. And if an individual happens to tick more than one of those boxes, such as a migrant who is unemployed, above middle age and suffering from a chronic health problem, then their social status will be seriously compromised. Conservative Greece is still very much allergic to difference and diversity.
Now a new survey conducted by Greece’s National Center for Social Research (EKKE), published exclusively here in Kathimerini, has cast light on the issue of multiple discrimination.
“Multiple discrimination is a new concept that is hard to pin down and express, as the different grounds on which one is discriminated against are often hard to distinguish and assess. It is an issue that we will deal with more frequently in the coming decades,” says Dionysis Balourdos, director of research at EKKE, who coordinated the project. What did the researchers find? “Most incidents of multiple discrimination take place in the workplace, and they usually involve gender bias,” Balourdos says. In other words, gender is even more decisive than ethnic origin and sexual orientation when it comes to whether an individual will experience discrimination. “A woman is far more likely to be subjected to multiple discrimination than a man,” says Nikos Sarris, a lawyer and researcher at EKKE. It is no coincidence that a 2017 Ombudsman report on discrimination cited gender as the main basis for discrimination (40 percent of reports). Other pretexts mentioned in the report were disability or chronic illness (19 percent), marital status (12 percent), age (9 percent), national or ethnic origin (98 percent), race or color (5 percent). “Sixty-nine percent of Greeks believe that women are meant to take care of the home and the family,” Sarris says. Only 44 percent of European Union citizens hold the same view.
The EKKE report was based on quantitative and qualitative research, as well as field experiments. The quantitative study was based on a sample of 510 people, mostly belonging to vulnerable groups, as well as representatives of agencies. Researchers studied their questionnaire answers to examine discrimination on the basis of race/color, national/ethnic origin, religious belief, disability, gender, age, and sexual preference. According to the findings, 56.6 percent said that Greece faces a serious multiple discrimination problem. More specifically, 70.7 percent said they face discrimination at work. A smaller percentage complained of discrimination at public services (49.1 percent), in healthcare (47.4 percent), on public transport (42 percent), at courts (37.2 percent), with banking services (29.8 percent) and in recreational areas (24.7). Meanwhile, 26 percent said they have experienced multiple discrimination – 63 percent of them in the workplace and 27.6 percent in healthcare settings.
Respondents said that discrimination was also prompted by their financial (56 percent) and employment status (58.6 percent). Of the alleged victims of multiple discrimination, only 15.9 percent had reported the incident to the authorities. Of those who reported the incident, 61.9 percent said that no action was taken. Researchers said that 28.6 percent stated they had reported the incident to the police, 19 percent to an association, 14.3 percent to a nongovernmental organization and 9.5 percent had referred the issue to court. However, 83.7 percent of cases were not reported at all.
Asked why they had failed to report the incident, 55 percent said they believed they wouldn’t get justice, 23 percent said they would not be able to provide evidence of the incident in court, 18.7 percent said that the procedure was time-consuming and bureaucratic, and 18 percent said that they did not know where to turn. Furthermore, 7 percent said they were afraid to report the incident. Seventy-five percent said they were not aware of the legislation regarding multiple discrimination. An EU survey conducted in 2017 showed that 70 percent of the people who belong to vulnerable groups in Greece are not familiar with the Ombudsman and 84 percent have no knowledge of the Equal Treatment Committee and the Labor Inspection Squad, Sarris said.
Asked about the six discrimination triggers, respondents said that discrimination was most frequently based on ethnic origin (76.5 percent), followed by sexual orientation (70.5 percent), disability (58.1 percent), religious preference (54.1 percent), age (51.6 percent) and gender (49.9 percent). Each of these traits was found to interact with the others, as well as with socioeconomic background. Gender and age are said to play a significant role in triggering multiple discrimination.
The EKKE survey was part of the “Tackling Multiple Discrimination in Greece” program, which was selected for EU funding from among 600 proposals. The program was carried out with the participation of four partners: the Economic and Social Council (ESC), the Hellenic Open University (HOU), the Region of Crete’s Directorate of Social Care, and the University of Seville.
“Every partner carried out its own set of actions and lab experiments with the participation of organizations’ representatives and groups exposed to discrimination. Every time we were struck by the huge turnout; every lab was better than the previous one,” Balourdos says. The study, which was published in a volume titled “Tackling Multiple Discrimination in Greece,” was presented at an international conference at the Digital Policy Ministry on December 5.
The candidate that most employers appeared to be looking for was a Greek male aged up to 45.