The 1st Panhellenic Fertility Conference has been postponed following the outcry caused by a controversial promotional spot deemed to be ‘anachronistic’ and perpetuating sexist stereotypes against women. The Conference website has already been deactivated, which was scheduled to take place from July 2-4 in Ioannina.
According to the announcement, the cancellation was decided unanimously “due to the negative reaction of the social media about a TV spot, whose message was misinterpreted”.
According to the members of the organising committee, the spot “presented the unacceptable pressure faced by modern women, while its goal was to raise awareness about dealing with fertility problems due to aging by informing the population about the possibilities provided by science today, offering women the complete autonomy and their liberation from wrong stereotypes “.
After the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou withdrew her support at the Conference, almost all the official participants publicly renounced the character and content of the spot and distanced themselves from the conference.
A number of scientists and public figures also withdrew their support to the conference judging it as offending women and perpetuating old stereotypes.
However, in a post on social media, the organisers emphasised that the purpose was not to offend women or to reinforce stereotypes, but to inform those who want to have children that after a certain age this ability decreases.
On Sunday, one of the keynote speakers, a prominent gynecologist, Costas Pantos, claimed in an interview with OPEN TV that although the commercial is harsh, it presented the bare truth. He noted that “the video does not say ‘make babies, but get ‘informed”. As Mr. Pantos said, the purpose of the commercial is not to persuade women to have children or to pressure them. He further referred to the fertility hormone, which decreases with age.
Greece has seen a substantial drop in birth rates, being one of the worst countries in Europe.