Social movements

Cheap labour played a decisive role in the essential establishment (and maturity) of the working class and in the staffing of the dynamic unionist movement that was leading it. The Asia Minor Catastrophe was a crucial factor which brought about vast and long-lasting changes in fields such as female employment. Women, at 22% (according to the census of 1928), increased their contribution especially in manufacturing and services. The core of the labour industrial class, created in the period 1922-40, played a significant role in the political and social diversification that ensued. The social protest had a clear economic basis, while all the data available indicates that the gap between the standard of living of the rich and the poor widened in Greece during the inter-war period.
The emergence of social movements of a new type is characteristic of this period. Female emancipation could be singled out as one example which - albeit with limited impact - started to make its presence felt in areas such as active intervention in the field of employment. Until then women were not protected by the existing legislation, while their wages ranged between 1/2 and 1/3 of those of their male colleagues. At the same time, the international climate, as well as the unionized organization of women, for the first time rendered realistic the demand for conferring political rights on Greek women (February 1930).