On Wednesday, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, high court judge and environmental advocate, became Greece’s first female president. She obtained 261 votes from the 300 members that form the parliament. Sakellaropoulou became the first female president of the Council of State — Greece’s top administrative court — in 2018. She also chairs an environmental law society and is known for advocating in favor of refugee rights.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s Prime Minister, said, “Let’s not hide from the truth, Greek society is still marked by discrimination against women. This now changes, starting from the top.”
The election is being seen as a huge step forward for a country that lags behind others in Europe when it comes to gender equality. It ranked last in the European Union on the Gender Equality Index in 2019, with 51.2 out of 100 points.
The election of Sakellaropoulou is even more groundbreaking because she is not only a woman but also doesn’t belong to a political party. Although the president is mainly a ceremonial position in Greece, serving a five-year term, it still symbolizes a step in the right direction.