Demonstrators outside the Presidential Palace on Sunday called for the president and the council of ministers to act on a report by the Ombudswoman that female officers were not being promoted because of their sex.

According to a resolution handed to a palace official, the women called for “the immediate addressing of the prohibited discrimination based on sex at work”.

The ombudswoman was responding to a complaint filed by Giorgos Karapatakis, a lawyer representing a group of 195 women who joined the National Guard in 1993, 1995 and 1997 but remain in lower ranks than they are qualified for.

Compared to male colleagues hired during the same period, the female officers did not climb up the ranks as quickly or as easily despite being more qualified or experienced, the lawyer had argued.

The women now hold the rank of staff sergeant while their male colleagues are master sergeants and warrant officers, outranking them.

Some of the female officers have since been promoted to the rank of master sergeant but are still outranked by their male colleagues.

The protest condemned the attitude of the ministry of defence which “although in 2016 it amended the Regulations that treated female officers unfairly and discrimination on the grounds of gender at work and although since then six years have passed, however, to this day, it stubbornly refuses to make up for the negative consequences that befell the women officers, the violation of the fundamental inalienable human right of these women for non-adverse treatment due to gender at work”.

Since 2016, they said, the ministry of defence has failed to correct gender discrimination in the workplace and refuses to take its responsibilities on board.

They said men employed at the same as women in 1993, 1995 and 1997 now have a higher ranking than them and a higher pay grade.

The protesters called for the women to be promoted retroactively.