World > Europe
from the August 31, 2004 edition
Greek women lead Olympics to success
By Coral Davenport | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
ATHENS – While ancient history was the buzzword of the Olympic Games' return to their birthplace, history was also made in a very modern way: these were the first Olympics with women in the key leadership roles, including the first-ever woman head of a national Olympic organizing committee and the first woman mayor of an Olympic city.
Having women fill these roles is remarkable in itself, say Greeks, but even more so given that this is a European nation without a strong tradition of feminism or gender equity. Though Greece was the birthplace of democracy, Greek women weren't able to vote until 1952. The practice of obligatory dowries wasn't outlawed until 1983. Today, there are only 39 women in Greece's 300-member Parliament, and Greece routinely ranks at the bottom of female representation in government, trade unions, and political parties among the 25 nations of the European Union.