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A proud patriot – Christina Georgaki reflects on International Women’s Day

Christina Georgaki

Christina Georgaki

4 min read Partner content

International Women’s Day is, for me, one of reflection and of gratitude. Women in Greece have not always had the opportunities and the ability to make an impact in the public sphere that our sisters in some other countries have enjoyed. But, today, being a Greek woman in politics and in business is both rewarding and humbling.

Through my work attracting inward investment into the Greek economy, it is such a privilege to play a small part in creating economic opportunity for fellow Greeks - and women in particular. It also allows me to give back to my cherished home city of Thessaloniki. Georgaki & Partners’ recent donations of a state-of-the-art incubator to the neonatal unit of the Ippokrateio General Hospital, and to the reconstruction of the YMCA camp in Pelion, are both examples of how women can help other women, men and children, in improving our society.

I’m also acutely aware of how, through my work with New Democracy, Greece’s governing party, I benefit from the great strides made by trailblazing predecessors - such as our country’s first female MP, elected in 1953.

Eleni Skoura was the only woman at the time of her historic victory - sitting in Parliament alongside 299 male colleagues. The precedent that she set led to real change, today 22% of Parliamentarians are women. But there is so much more to do.

It is my firm belief that women in public life should help make life easier for those who follow them - just as Eleni Skoura does - that inspires me to work with the Alba Graduate Business School in my home city of Thessaloniki. As women who have broken glass ceilings, and had them broken for us, it is our responsibility to offer a ladder to those who wish to also make the climb. Through mentoring and support we can all make a real difference to the brilliant and talented women who follow us.

It is through mutual support and collaboration that prosperity and opportunity are created. That is the heart of the successful family or national unit. But it is also a bond that ties women together, through mutual solidarity, as we struggle to find our place and make our mark in a world that still isn’t always fair. We have made so much progress in so many ways but it has been hard fought and there are still iniquities to be tackled. Only 49% of Greek women are in employment, compared to 70% of Greek men and according to the European Institute for Gender Equality we have a lot of ground to make up across a range of metrics. But we have a government committed to forging progress and a generation of young Greek women, like myself, committed to making their mark in business and in politics. Greek women have always been strong and have always been the heart of the Greek home, increasingly we are bringing that strength to the public domain too.

One of the initiatives that I’ve been involved with that I’m most proud of, is support for Alba Business School’s Future Leaders Lab. This programme aims to equip learners with the life skills needed to succeed, and I cannot wait to see young women from across Thessaloniki flourish under its tutelage. Crucially though, these women should be there – and I’m confident that they will be – due to their talent, desire, and commitment. There is no need for women to be involved in any programme to make up the numbers – we’re so much better than that.

My mother inspires me everyday. She and my father taught us, from an early age, that it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute - to their family, their nation and to making the future better than the past. That is the lesson that I, now, seek to pass on to my daughters. As women we have the same responsibilities as men but with an additional one, too - to help one another to succeed and to thrive. International Women’s Day is a chance for us all to remember that, and to honour it.

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