European Union of Private Hospitals

8 march International women’s day – Eleni Androni, SEK, Greece

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a lawyer, member of the Athens Bar Association and the French-speaking Brussels Bar. I hold a degree in Law from the University of Athens and a master’s degree (LL.M) in European Law from the University of Leiden (NL). I had my internship in the Court of Justice of the European Union and then I worked at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg.

I am the founder of an Athens based law office which provides litigation and consulting services mainly to health care providers and medical equipment suppliers. My field of expertise is health law as well as administrative and competition law.

Since 2012 I am the Legal Counsel of the Greek Private Hospital Association (Hellenic Private Hospital Association) that represents the largest private hospitals in Greece.

What does it mean to be a woman in your profession?

I think that even today, in the year 2023, a female attorney practicing law in a European country still faces gender inequalities in everyday life.

According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) we need at about three generations time that women in Europe will achieve actual equality in their life and their profession (professional carrier development and salary earnings). Especially in the case of Greece with 52.5 out of 100 points, it ranks 27th in the EU on the Gender Equality Index. Its score is 15.5 points below the EU’s score and Greece’s ranking has remained the same since 2010 with a small change since 2017.  I believe that this is the case because of the economic crisis in Greece since it is well known that the vulnerable groups of society, such as for example women, are the ones most affected during all kind of crisis situations. Indeed although the gender ratio in legal studies at university level is now quite balanced in Greece, if not more women, the picture is different in the legal profession. More female law graduates become judges and public notaries and less become lawyers and especially litigation lawyers. Of course there is progress and nowadays there more women lawyers than the years before, working mainly in big law firms or as in house lawyers in companies and public services but not in leadership positions.

In my everyday life as a female lawyer in Greece I have experienced gender bias especially in the beginning of my carrier that required a lot of effort to overcome them. There is a lot of progress in female lawyers’ position in Greece since then, but I still experience inequalities. Finally I would like to note that especially as a lawyer advising companies in the health sector I am surrounded mostly by men because there are very few women in leadership positions in this sector.

How would you foster gender equality now and for the next generation?

I think that policy makers shall examine the actual gender inequalities and introduce measures. The goal is that women must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels.

It is necessary to have a good gender equality legislation and policy making both at EU and national level. This includes the reform of all remaining legislation that imposes gender inequalities but also the enactment of new gender equality legislation even with the adoption of positive measures such as legislative candidate quotas where needed.

Further it is important to review all the other tools available in policy making and adopt a clear strategy for gender equality and effective policy programs.

What would you personally like to add? 

I think that it is important that there is a new generation of female professionals in all EU member states that are longer eager to accept the gender inequalities and biases that previous generations accepted. I also like to believe that gender diversity and gender equality is actually the common goal because it is considered the most effective way to organise societies and today’s economies.

There is still a lot to be done, especially in Greece, but it is positive that there is a new strategy at EU level that hopefully will be implemented in all member states. It is interesting to note that policy makers recognized that the recent covid-19 pandemic crisis has revealed not only the inadequacies of our health care systems but also further inadequacies of our systems regarding gender equality. The new EU Gender-Equality Strategy 2020-2025 takes these considerations into account and it includes proposals for new EU legislation on pay transparency and combating violence against women.