Female representations on Greek media and Greek women’s (un)employment before and after the Covid-19 pandemic : Examining whether and how media gender stereotypes can affect Greek women’s development in light of a crisis.
Abstract: Women around the world face various kinds of discrimination, which vary from country to country and from culture to culture. Socio-economic crises and global emergencies can accentuate such gender inequalities being particularly detrimental to women. During Covid-19 pandemic women have experienced significant hardships, disproportionately affecting 740 million women worldwide (Rivera, Hsu, Esbry & Dugarova, 2020). According to the United Nations, “across the globe, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs, are more likely to be employed in the informal sector. They have less access to social protection and are the majority of single-parent households. Their capacity to absorb economic shocks is, therefore, less than that of men.” Furthermore, the unfair treatment of women is also reinforced by derogatory female stereotypes spread around the media, making it extremely difficult for women to rebound after a crisis (Milford, 2020). In the case of Greece, the pandemic aggravated the economic inequalities faced by women, which could be traced only after one meticulously delves into some formal documents and statistics provided by Greek open data or governmental institutions. Furthermore, the Greek mass media continue to maintain a stiff discriminative stance against women, feeding the Greek mindset with gender stereotypes affecting negatively the way females are evolving within the society, and in particular as entrepreneurs or employees. The outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic added to this, as the immediate reflexes of the Greek power and authority agents was to ‘protect‘ the existing dominant system with all its weaknesses and distortions that it may bear. Under this notion, Greek mass media, did not project the real repercussions of the pandemic, but it kept projecting the same distorted gender representations, as if the pandemic has had exclusively health repercussions. In fact, there is a large gap, with no clear conclusions regarding research on the impact the produced stereotypes by the Greek media have on women’s ability to contribute to any form of development. So, I aim to investigate how Greek women perceive their position and the way they are treated within the society and the working sector, and how the Greek mass media represent the female figure, especially after the pandemic outburst. I interviewed eight women and included extracted information from two magazines, two newspapers, and four television advertisements. I also used statistical data from governmental and other official sources investigating related data before and after the pandemic. Although recent Greek official satistical data indicate that women have been more by the Covid- 19 pandemic compared to men, results have shown that not all women have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, nor have they been exclusively socio-economically afflicted from the Covid-19 pandemic; they have been negatively affected, though, as everybody else has. Moreover, all participants recognize the extensive stereotyped representation of women on the Greek mass media, which is also evident from the provided media extracts in this study. Furthermore, Greek mothers seem to struggle to balance between family and career, as they are not on the top choices of employers, although female entrepreneurship in Greece is steadily evolving. Finally, the place of residence appears to play a role in the way women are treated, as in large cities, people are more open-minded and less stuck with the old-fashioned gender roles of the Greek culture.
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