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Friday, October 14, 2011

Should I move to Greece?

Should I move to Greece?

Unemployment rate at 16.6% not a wise move.

ATHENS — As the debt crisis in Greece hits male-dominated sectors like construction and thousands of men lose their jobs or suffer from salary cuts, Greek women are making a brave effort to become the breadwinners. Few are finding any joy.
Female Factor
In a series of articles, columns and multimedia reports, The International Herald Tribune examines where women stand in the early 21st century.
“It’s an attempted defense against the crisis,” said Maria Karamesini, an associate professor of economics at Panteion University who briefs the European Commission on gender equality issues. “As joblessness rises among men, a growing pool of women are seeking to offset losses in household income,” said Ms. Karamesini, 51, who has been supporting her husband since early 2009 when he lost his job as an architect. “Most aren’t finding work, of course.”
Natalia Papapetrou, a 36-year-old architect who speaks three languages, never expected to apply for work as a cashier at her local supermarket in Athens. But five months after losing her job as an administrative assistant to a state-run organization, and 18 months after her husband lost his, the responsibility of feeding two children weighed heavily.
The couple moved their elder daughter from a private school to a state school, and their parents are helping with mortgage repayments. With virtually no money coming in, finding work has become a pressing concern.
“I’m willing to do anything,” said Mrs. Papapetrou, who has applied for dozens of positions in stores and offices, but has yet to get a single offer.
Government statistics show that unemployment among Greek women rose 4 percent in the last quarter of 2010, reaching 17.9 percent, compared with an average of 9.7 percent in the 27-member European Union. For Greek women aged 29 and under, the rate stood at 33 percent. Joblessness among men increased by about the same rate, reaching 11.5 percent compared to an E.U. average of 9.5 percent.
The spike in male unemployment reflects months of layoffs that have fueled frequent angry protests in Athens. But there have been no mass redundancies in female-dominated areas like the public sector and the service industry — at least not yet. So the main reason for the rise in women’s unemployment would appear to be the unsuccessful search for jobs.
Economists at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris are drawing the same conclusion. According to the agency, the labor force participation rate among Greek women (those either employed or actively looking for a job) increased 2.9 percent over the past three years — nearly triple the 1 percent E.U. average. But the employment rate for Greek women fell 0.8 percent in the period.


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