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ALTERNATIVE REPORT OF THE ROMANIAN WOMEN’S NGOs FOR THE

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPECIAL SESSION

RELATED TO

THE IMPLEMENTATION  OF THE  BEIJING PLATFORM  FOR  ACTION

Women’s NGOs approaches in measuring progress

Submitted by

Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations of Romania

May,  2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………1

A. WOMEN AND POVERTY………………………………………2

B. EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF WOMEN…………………4

C. WOMEN AND HEALTH…………………………………………6

D. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN…………………………………8

E. WOMEN AND ARMED CONFLICT……………………………11

F. WOMEN AND THE ECONOMY…………………………………12

G. WOMEN IN POWER AND DECISION MAKING………………15

H. INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN……………………………17

I. HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN……………………………………21

J. WOMEN AND THE MEDIA………………………………………23

K. WOMEN AND THE ENVIRONMENT…………………………25

L. THE GIRL-CHILD…………………………………………………26

ANNEX I.  REFERENCES……………………………………………28  

ANNEX II.  LIST OF PARTICIPATING NGOs……………………30

ALTERNATIVE REPORT OF THE ROMANIAN WOMEN’S NGOs FOR THE

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPECIAL SESSION

RELATED TO

THE IMPLEMENTATION  OF THE  BEIJING PLATFORM  FOR  ACTION

Introduction

The present report it is not the  evaluation of the Romanian Government’s report on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, but rather  the “Women’s NGOs approaches in measuring progress”.  Its realization was possible due to the joint efforts of a number of 18 Romanian Women’s NGOs and Human Rights NGOs.  These organizations cover almost all geographic areas of the Romanian regions  and are active in different fields of work. 

A working team of Equal Opportunities for Women Foundation (SEF) was responsible for creating and editing the report, here including the research on statistics and information.

The limitations of the report are due to the lack of a continuum  and efficient dialogue with decision makers.  While some progress exists, authorities continue to perceive NGOs  and their activity as conflicting with their interests. Nevertheless, this perception  is related especially to  Human Rights and Civic issues. 

A. Women and poverty - strategically objectives: 

1. Review, adopt and maintain macroeconomic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty.

2. Revise laws and administrative practices to ensure women’s equal rights and access to economic resources.

3. Provide women with access to savings and credit mechanisms and institutions.

4. Develop gender-based methodologies and conduct research to address the feminization of poverty.

Realized progress

The National Mid-Term Strategy to prevent and Combat Poverty includes special recommendations for women’s support.

The Economical Emancipation of Women in the Rural Area – a program of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in partnership with UNDP.

Comments:

Economic transition  has caused a deterioration of the economic status  of women.  Governments failed to promote new economic roles and opportunities for women.   These have lead to increased poverty, unemployment and jobs with lower payment also among skilled, highly educated and experienced women.  Training, retraining and new vocational skills  often do not reach women with obsolete skills. In most counties rural women do not benefit from social security system.

Recommendations

- integrate gender issues into the political and public agenda

- create, adopt and maintain  macroeconomic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty, considering that the economic transition and the privatization process lead   to increased poverty, unemployment and jobs with lower payment also among skilled, highly educated and experienced women

- assess the impact on women of liberalization policies including privatization, financial and trade policies

- ensure that structural adjustment programs and economic reform programs are designed  with participation of women’s organizations, in order to  promote new economic roles and opportunities for women for both women in urban and rural areas

- initiate, develop and support participatory antipoverty programmes that involve women, including those that redress gender inequalities

- prevent the marginalisation of vulnerable groups of women (like single mothers and  women with disabilities) in economic and social resources and activities

- take actions to reduce inequality and economic disparity and respect the human rights/women rights in both urban and rural areas

- create social security system for rural women

B. Education and training of women - strategically objectives: 

1. Ensure equal access to education

2. Eradicate illiteracy among women

3. Improve women’s access to vocational training, science and technology, and continuing education

4. Develop non-discriminatory education and training

5. Allocate sufficient resources for and monitor the implementation of educational reforms

6. Promote lifelong education and training for girls and women

Realized progress

The institutionalization of Gender Studies:

- Master in Gender Studies – starting  1998 – within the  National School for Political and Administrative Studies – Bucharest

- Optional courses in gender/feminist studies  within high schools (English, Philosophy, etc.) and Universities  in Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara , Craiova and Tg. Mures

Programmes of the European Union

- Socrates

- Leonardo Da Vinci

Comments:

According to the  Romanian legislation, girls and women have access to all levels of both  public (which is mainly still free of charge) and private education.  However,  gender discrimination it is present, as a result of the anachronistic and conservative curricula, textbooks, language and teaching methods still in use.  Yet, while non-sexist education and affirmative policy are recognized as possible and appropriate tools in dealing with gender discrimination in education,  empowerment, career development and leadership/management skills for women are not on the working agenda of policy makers.

Recommendations

- initiate gender awareness and  gender analysis training programmes for government officials, particularly for those working in the Ministry of Education

- identify and analyze the aspects of the different impact of  the reform and policy in the educational system  on women and men,  in order to introduce  the gender perspective in policy development  

- include a “gender and education” module in pedagogical education/formation both at secondary and tertiary level, in order to increase the understanding of social aspects of gender

- integrate elements concerning  non-sexist education, the private life, and women’s experiences and contributions in the curricula of different disciplines, especially in those dealing with civic education, history, applied social sciences and language studies.

- introduce in the University Charts specific measures against sexism and sexual harassment in campuses  and academic  institutions

- promote and initiate lifelong education and training for girls and women, including empowerment, career development and leadership/management skills

C. Women and health - strategically objectives: 

1. Increase women access throughout their life-cycle to appropriate, affordable and quality health care, information and   related services

2. Strengthen preventive programmes that promote women’s health

3. Undertake gender-sensitive initiatives that address sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health issues

4. Promote research and disseminate information on women’s health

5. Increase resources and monitor follow-up for women’s health

Realized progress

The National Strategy of the Reproductive Health, of  the Health  Ministry  in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations.

- Public Family Planning Centers in several  cities and big towns of Romania

- Other programmes developed all over the country (SECS - The Society for Contraceptive and Sexual Education  and ARAS - The Romanian Association Against HIV/AIDS)

Within the Reform of the Health Care System,  the medical assistance and treatment of both women in pre- and post-natal period and the child up to 16 years old  are still free of charge.

Comments:

Romanian legislation does not address women’s health issues specifically.  Yet, no specific policies are developed, except family planning, where a kind of competition exists between the programmes mentioned above.

Degradation of the health services affects women particularly. The difference between the rural and urban areas concerning the quality and accessibility of medical care increased dramatically during the last years. The lack of  public social work services for women in different risk groups is an additional negative factor. 

Recommendations

- adopt specific legal provisions concerning women’s health issues

- take all necessary measures, including resources allocation, to ensure for all women the equal access to information, in terms of their rights of health protection, as well as their access to high-quality specialized medical services, in all phases of their life cycle and regardless their place of living and their financial situation (here including particular attention for elderly women in both urban and rural area)

- support and continue to develop family planning centers as integral part of the basic health care system, here including adequate training providing  for the medical staff working for

D. Violence against women - strategically objectives: 

1. Take integrated measures to prevent and eliminate violence against women

2. Study the causes and consequences of violence against women and the effectiveness of preventive measures

3. Eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking

Realized progress

The Pilot Center of  Assistance and  Protection of  the Victims of Domestic Violence – 1997

The Information and Counseling Center for Family 

The Annual Information  Forum on National Policy of Equal Opportunity for Women and MenThe Elimination of Violence within Family – 1998

The National Crime Prevention Unit and the Prognosis Unit of the Police merged to establishing the Institute for Research and Criminality Prevent as a Unit of the General Inspectorate of Police. After that, all Crime Prevention Departments of the Police (each county of Romania has its own) became Units of this Institute.  Their mission statement is to study and prevent, and we should mention here the activity of the Crime Prevention Departments of the Police from   Botosani, Galati and especially Iasi for their work to eliminate trafficking in women.

Comments:

The Romanian law does not specifically address violence against women. The only one provision that could be  considered (related to  violence against women) is that one that refers to rape, which in conformity with the article 197 of the Penal Code it is an offence that can be perpetrate only by a man;  it also limits sexual acts to “penetration in a natural way”, meaning vaginal penetration.  

The women who are victims of violence may use in the defense of their rights the provisions of the Penal Code that sanctions:

- violence  within the family: incest (art. 203), the family abandon (art. 305). The Romanian law does not sanction the marital rape and does not pay official recognition of the domestic violence.

- violence  outside  the family: rape (art. 197), forced or obligatory labor (art. 191),  hitting or other violent acts (art 191), the serious body injuries  (art 182), threats (art 193), prostitution (art 328), pimping (art 329)

Romanian legal framework penalizes any violent act (deed) regardless the victim's sex (male or female) but doesn't prescribe violence against woman (domestic violence). Unfortunately, Romanian laws do not provide special legal actions on this matter. The Penal Code sanctions violence without making differences;  violence is interpreted as a form of infringement of human rights (The Romanian Penal Code is structured in many chapters entitled "offences against life, integrity and health of human being", offences against personal liberty", offences against family's integrity" etc). But violence is not interpreted as a form of gender discrimination.  Yet, there are no provisions regarding  the victims’ protection.

Moreover, both for violent acts between spouses/in the family and sexual violence, charge and prosecution can be started only on preliminary complaint from the adult victim or legal representative of the aggressed minor;   there is the possibility of withdrawing the complaint, reconciliation /or marriage in case of rape, which may occur at stage of the trial, removing the criminal liability of the offender, and subjecting the victim to psychological/moral pressures from him or his/her family and community, forcing her into an agreement against her freely consented will.

Unfortunately victim of trafficking can be punished according to the Romanian Criminal Code;  the fact that it was trafficked may be regarded only as mitigating circumstance, but does not eliminate the possibility of a conviction. Another fault of the Romanian law is the fact that there is no incrimination for the trafficking for other purpose than prostitution;  the text of law uses the expression "trafficking for prostitution" and clearly indicates the necessity of prostitution for considering the trafficking as an offence; this is the only provision of the law that incriminates the trafficking,  and results from here that is no legal action that can be taken against other kind of trafficking.

Recommendations

- adopt a special law – or, at least, a special article – on domestic violence, containing precise settlements for the charge and prosecution of violent acts,  specific standards for evidence in cases of domestic violence, and insuring protection for victims

- redefine rape and incest, to providing more severe punishments when minors are victims; reintroduce  precise and distinct charge of marital and dating rape, and set up  of specific standards for evidence, to allow the victim to prove her allegations

- remove the possibility of avoiding criminal charges by the reconciliation of the parties; introduce a pro-arrest policy for perpetrators and stiffening the penalties and the possibility of applying alternative penalties – e.g. community service – for offenders

- delegate the investigation, irrespective of the severity of wounds produced, to criminal authorities, to enable them to intervene at any stage of the investigation

- adopt specific regulations/provisions  for victims’ protection during the long term crisis phase (accompanying, counseling, shelter, etc.) and create effective programmes  for this

- adopt the  necessary regulations/provisions for witnesses’ protection and create effective programmes for this

- create crisis centers for women/survivors of abuse and violence

- reintroduce legal provisions for the indecent assault

- raise the  public opinion awareness referring to all forms of violence against women

- initiate educational programmes to increase the awareness and the monitoring  of human/women rights

- initiate more standardized and systematic researches

- introduce the  specific provisions and the clear definition of trafficking in the Penal Code

- allocate resources and support by any means the  local and national programmes against any form of violence against women

E. Women and armed conflict - strategically objectives: 

1. Increase the participation of women in conflict resolution at decision-making levels and protect women living in situations of armed and other conflicts or of under foreign occupation

2. Reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments

3. Promote non-violent forms of conflict resolution and reduce  the incidence of human right abuse in conflict situations

4. Promote women’s contribution to fostering a culture of peace

5. Provide protection, assistance and training to refugee women, other  displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women

6. Provide assistance to the women of colonies and non-self-governing territories

Realized progress

Romania it is one of the most active members of the Stability Pact in the South-East of Europe.  Yet, an active member of the Gender Task Force, within the Working Table on the  Democratization and Human Rights. 

Comments:

While Romania is part of the Convention on the Status of the Refugees and there are also laws on this matter,  there are no special dispositions regarding the refugee women.

Recommendations

- introduce systematic education for peace and tolerance to prevent and abolish war

- develop and disseminate research on women’s abuses and multiple discrimination, as well as   the conflict’s  consequences on both countries in conflict situations and the adjacent ones

- promote a balanced participation of women and men in conflict resolution at decision-making levels and in all forums and activities for peace-building

- support the international work for the promotion and protection of women rights in armed conflict

- support the rights of refugee girls and women

F. Women and the economy - strategically objectives: 

1. Promote women’s economic rights and independence, including access to employment and appropriate working conditions and control over economic resources

2. Facilitate women’s equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade

3. Provide business services, training and access to markets, information and technology, particularly to low-income women

4. Strengthen women’s economic capacity and commercial networks

5. Eliminate occupational segregation and all forms of discrimination

6. Promote harmonization of work and family responsibilities for women and men

Realized progress

Training and re/training courses for women -  organized by the County Offices for Labor Force and Unemployment Issues.

The Center for Information and Counseling for Unemployed Women – within the PHARE-SESAM Program of the European Union

The law on parental leave – 1998.  It promotes the equal sharing of family responsibility by providing five days paid leave for the father when a child is born, and an additional 10 of leave days for fathers who attended courses for child rearing.   Still under debate in the Romanian Parliament.

Comments:

While some progress exists, labor market policies are  rather passive than active.

Important structural changes occurs when  consider the paid and unpaid work The reduction of employees it is a continuous process,  and an increased number of own account and unpaid family workers  should be considered.   Men prevail among employers, employees and own account workers, while more women are to be found among unpaid family workers.  In 1998, there were: 1,7 male employers - compared to 0,7 female employers; 62,9 male employees – compared to 56,8 female employees; 25,8 male own account workers – 15,3 female own account workers. Yet, 27% women  compared to 9,2% men are among the  unpaid family workers.

Nevertheless, more female employees then men are still in the low paid activities.  Yet, they are particularly attracted into the ‘gray economy’ sector, where they work in rough conditions, and are excluded from the social insurance system.  An extremely vulnerable group to be mentioned here is that one of single mothers.

In Romania, the salaries are established on two phases: a collective negotiation followed up by an individual one, according to the employment financial power.  Each person, assisted or not by the Trade Union representative, would negotiate with the employer the level of  his/her monthly income, as well as the other work conditions to be noticed in the work contract. The same solution applies for the part-time work contract.  According to these conditions,  it is hard to say if discrimination exist or not in terms of equal pay for equal work for men and women – at the intention level.

There are no legal provisions addressing gender-discrimination on the labor market.  Both the Constitution and the Labor Code  provide guarantees  in the field of equal opportunity and treatment. Unfortunately, the Romanian regulations for labor and social security  are  limited, just stating the principle of equality between women and men.   As a result, it is an increased  number of  reports referring to discriminatory practices related to equal access to employment and promotion, the labor reintegration process  on the labor market, and the equal pay for equal work.  By example, during 1998 the average salary computed for men was 25 higher than women’s (according to the Survey on Labor Cost).  The average duration of unemployment for 1998 was of 17 months, and higher among women (21 months).

As regard the sexual harassment – while the risk for sexual harassment at work has considerably increased, no legal incrimination for preventing and/or punishing it has been adopted.

Recommendations

- to develop the equal opportunity employment policy

- form partnerships to educate employers and employees about gender-based employment discrimination

- establish by the year 2005 a department, commission or other governmental body to implement and enforce laws against gender discrimination in the workplace

- adopt a law on equality of opportunity between women and men at work, to prohibit direct or indirect sex-based discrimination, with legal provision for sexual harassment

- establish specialized complaint procedures for victims  of sexual harassment

- search for local opportunities to create jobs and programs in order to activate unemployed women

- promote the development of both services and  social services as potential field of employment opportunities for women

- create alternative forms of employment for women

- create social security system for  women, including these ones  who are in the informal sector, under-employed, unemployed or self-employed

G. Women in power and decision-making - strategically objectives: 

1. Take measures to ensure women’s equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision-making

2. Increase women’s capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership

Realized progress

Within the Stability Pact Gender Task Force, the Direction of Equal Opportunities in the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection   has been developed  the National Plan of Improvement of Women’s Representation in political and Administrative decision-making bodies.

Comments:

According to the legislation, parliamentary elections are based on electoral lists.  It is the political party’s decision to include women on the  eligible positions.  

The only initiative ever made in Romania  for affirmative action in the electoral law was proposing to give higher state subventions to those parties which put more women on top of their electoral lists.  At first, the proposal was widely supported by and passed all the parliamentary procedures.  However, it  was rejected in the final vote.

The distribution of men and women within Romania’s population is not reflected in the gender  composition of Parliament.  After the 1996 elections, 27  women are in Parliament, that is 6% out of the total.   The highest proportion of women parliamentarians is held by the 50-54 age group.  The 25-29 and 30-34 age groups are exclusively male. 

Men hold the overwhelming majority in all commissions of both the Deputy Chamber and Senate.  Within the Deputy Chamber, the commissions on budgetary issues, finances and banks, agriculture, food industry and forestry,  defense, public order and national security, inquires into abuses and petitions are all exclusively men.  Women are to be found in the commissions dealing with that kind of problems traditionally associated with women (human rights, labor, social protection and unemployment, health and  the family, culture, arts, and media. However it is a progress in the components of the commissions on economic policy, reform and privatization, industry and services, and public administration, land administration and the environment,  which are including  a small proportion of women.  As for the Permanent Commissions of the Senate  and the Joint Commissions of the Parliament Chambers,  two women were appointed as   Presidents of the Human Rights Commission and, respectively,  Parliamentary Commission on the European Integration.

At this moment, the presence of women in Romania’s political life and in the public administration is: one  adviser to the President of the State, four state advisers at Romania’s Presidency, one  minister, 10 Secretaries of State, three advisers to the  Prime-Minister, one government spokeswoman;  no prefects, one sub-prefect, 81 mayors (3% out of total number of mayors),  2434 local advisers (6% out of total), 94 county advisers ((6% out of total).

The leadership positions in the executive apparatus, within both  governmental and elected territorial bodies, are still preponderant of men.

Recommendations

- promote equality and equity between genders

- develop appropriate strategies to eradicate all discriminatory attitudes and practices against women and girls

- review educational materials to identify and remove all examples of leadership that undermine confidence in women as leaders and decision-makers

- engender political organizations

H. Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women - strategically objectives: 

1. Create or strengthen national machineries and other governmental bodies

2. Integrate gender perspectives in legislation, public policies, programmes and projects

3. Generate an disseminate gender-aggregated data and information for planning and evaluation

Realized progress

H1. Governmental level

The Department for the Advancement of Women and family Policy  within the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, set up by the order of the Council of Ministers  in October 1995.   In  1998, by government decision, it changed its title to the Department for the  Advancement and Assurance of  Women’s Rights and Family Policy.  Starting 1999, as a result of the administrative reform, the structure of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection completely changed, including since then, the Department for Coordinating the Labor Market and  Wages.  Within this one the Direction of Equal Opportunities has been established, which is responsible for: (a) the integration of equal opportunities for women and men in social policies; (b) the assurance of equal access of women on the labor market and the improvement of the working conditions;  (c) the harmonization of the national legislation and the monitoring of the application process of the legal provisions; and  (d) the development of studies and analyses related to women status, in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations, and the promotion of solutions to eliminate the resulted negative aspects.  Starting March 2000, the Direction of Equal Opportunities has autonomy, being directly subordinated to the Head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

The Consultative Inter-ministerial Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (CODES), set up by government decision in November 1999,  which  overall  objective is gender mainstreaming. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection would coordinate CODES activities, and the Direction of Equal Opportunities would provide secretarial services.

Comments:

Women’s affairs are linked with the family issues and with youth and children.  This could be very  dangerous, by maintaining the climate in which  the woman it is  seen by the employer as “mother” or “potential mother”, diminishing her equal access to a job (especially during this very difficult period of the economic transition).

The national machinery has the authority to initiate legislative actions and it is an important opinion maker on governmental policy at national and local level. It has also local counterparts. Unfortunately, while it has  a specific  budget within the Ministry  of Labor and Social Protection, its level is very low, and human resources are understaffed.  Yet, the national machinery is vulnerable to political changes.

In terms of accountability and reporting, the national machinery has the obligation to report on  both their activities and  the status of women to the prime minister periodically.

H2. Parliamentary level

The Sub-commission for Equal Opportunities within the Parliamentary Commission for European Integration, set up by a decision of the Parliament.

Comments:

The Sub-commission for Equal Opportunities cooperates occasionally with women  NGOs in seminars, debates on legislation and training activities. 

H3. National Action Plan for the implementation of the Platform for Action

The launch of the National Action Plan was in  Bucharest, 1996, in the framework of the Sub-regional Conference of the High Governmental Experts,  on the Implementation of the Platform for Action. 

The priorities of the Romanian  National Action Plan, which is part of the Romanian Governance Program, are:

- to create and develop the Institutional Mechanisms in order to  coordinate both women’s rights and equality of opportunities for women and men policies

- to promote a balanced participation of women and men in decision making and public life

- to improve the economical status of women, to realize an equal access on the labor market and  to have control over resource management

- to improve the health status of women

- to prevent and reduce the family violence, giving special attention to women and children

- to encourage women’s participation in the protection of the environment

- to integrate the equality between women and men principle in all areas of social, cultural, educational life

- to collaborate with national NGOs and international organizations and institutions fro the implementation of the National Action Plan on the Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men

Comments:

Four out 12 strategically objectives of the Platform for Action are not found in the National Action Plan:  education and training of women, women and armed conflict, women and the media and the girl child.

The Romanian government did not allocate the necessaries resources for the implementation of the National Plan for Action.

H4. National Action Plan on the Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men

H5. Co-operation of the state administration with NGOs

Despite the growing involvement of women’s organizations in the social life, the national machinery seems to favor  the cooperation with human rights NGOs.  However, a cooperation agreement has been concluded  between the national machinery and some women’s organizations belonging to the main Romanian trade union confederations.

Yet, in the framework of the Stability Pact – Gender Task Force – a partnership has been established with some women’s NGOs and civic education organizations. 

Last but not least, by the government decision, the working meetings of the Consultative Inter-ministerial Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (CODES) might  be opened for the representatives of any other public institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Yet, it could be technically assisted by  equality and equal treatment experts.

Recommendations

- create guarantees for the continuity and sustainability of independent national machineries on a legal basis in the form of an “Equality Act”;  ensure that funding for such bodies is included in annual budgets

- empower the national machinery by providing funds  to develop its local counterparts as autonomous bodies, here including funds for training and technical assistance

- provide training and technical assistance on gender issues for both the members of  CODES and public officers

- review and enact the national legislation from a gender perspective in respect of the constitution and the international Human Rights/Women’s Rights documents

- collect, analyze and present gender disaggregated data on regular basis and use them in  policy development and decision making process

- fully implement the National plan for Action and allocate adequate resources for this

- establish a communication channel between national machineries and NGOs on a regular basis, to enable the  civil dialogue

- support the mechanisms of cooperation between NGOs and governments for gender mainstreaming

- ensure accountability of national machineries to NGOs, including regular reporting of their activities

I. Human rights of women - strategically objectives: 

1. Promote and protect the human rights of  women through the full implementation of all human right instruments, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

2. Ensure equality and non-discrimination under the law and in practice

3. Achieve legal literacy

Realized progress

The department for Child, Women and Family Protection within the Ombudsman Office - 1998.

Comments:

As I already mentioned, the Romanian law stipulates the equal access to all levels of public education (still free of charge) as well as to private ones.  However, because of the poverty,  it is an increasing rate of not attendance or school abandon for girls at pre-university school, especially in the case of large families  in the rural areas and in Rroma communities.

Generally, the legislation in Romania it is good enough.  Unfortunately, the real life practice it is  bad enough because of:

- the Law, which generally  is  too evasive, and allow the breaking it

- the unprofessional bureaucracy of the governmental institutions and local administration

- the  women’s movement which is not strong enough, so it is unable to  act as  a pressure group

- the very law level of the awareness – by both men and women – of the human/women Civil,  Political,  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; yet of  their rights according to the  Romanian legislation; as a result, generally people don’t understand when a violation occurs (since established the specific department within the Ombudsman Office, no any woman’s complaints is registered!)

In addition to these,  the public perception it is  bad enough.  Because of the problems they face as a result of the transition’s effects, people don’t care about anything but their problems.  They lost the sense of belonging to the community, and don’t understand their role in solving the problems within community.

As a conclusion, the situation of women in Romania is not worse  then that one of women in any other Central and East European countries,   but there are  a lot of things  to do.

Recommendations

- develop awareness and educational activities on women’s rights in local communities

- enforce the  international covenants and/or treaties 

- increase the governmental capacity to identify and solve he critical aspects of the equality of opportunities for women and men

- identify the legal provisions that permit gender discrimination, review them from a gender perspective and monitor the gender discrimination in all areas of activities

- initiate gender-sensitive budgets, in order to promote more effective use of resources to achieve both gender equality and human development 

J. Women and the media – strategically objectives: 

1. Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communications

2. Encourage and recognize women’s media networks, including electronic networks and other new technologies of communication, as a means for the dissemination of information and the exchange of views, including at the international level, and support women’s groups active in all media work and systems of communication to that end

3. Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media

Realized progress

Comments:

There are no  any statistics on the extent of women’s participation in decision-making positions at all levels of the mass media. 

The major problems that women face because the economic transition caused a deterioration of their status are not reflected in mass-media.  Obviously, the general message is  presenting women as victims and/or initiators of violence against  children (here including the child abandon) or women as prostitutes.

While some progress exists (especially on the local level), media is not generally gender-sensitive;   it has no real and constant contribution in raising the public awareness and/or in demanding for  public statements from  politicians and  public opinion leaders.  

Recommendations

- improve the curricula of the journalism schools by gender awareness and analyses modules,  and  introduce a gender dimension in specific disciplines

- initiate for media workers (women and men)  special training programmes  to raise the gender sensitivity

- develop  professional guidelines and codes of conduct for  the promotion of a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in mass-media

- establish and promote the collaboration between the social actors and mass-media  to educate the public for accepting new stereotypes and models of women in the media

- support awareness-raising campaigns with respect to the responsibility of the media in promoting a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media

- initiate and provide by mass-media both awareness and educational programs on gender equality and women’s status;  support the  free of charge access  of women’s rights NGOs  for the promotion of their activities by mass-media 

- support women’s access to the decision-making positions in mass-media

K. Women and the environment - strategically objectives: 

1. Involve women actively in environmental decision-making at all levels

2. Integrate gender concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development

3. Strengthen or establish mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to assess the  impact of development and environmental  policies on women

Realized progress

Within the  institutionalization of Gender Studies program (Master in Gender Studies –  the  National School for Political and Administrative Studies – Bucharest) it is a commitment for the integration of  gender concerns and perspectives related to  the  impact of development and environmental  policies on women. 

Comments:

The governmental programmes for sustainable development didn’t  include gender concerns and perspectives in their activities.  Yet, while women are involved in such programmes (because of their expertise), they deny (because of the very low gender awareness level) that women should be   actively involved  in environmental decision-making at all levels. It is no any understanding of a possible different approach of women in policies and programmes for sustainable development.

Recommendations

q increase women’s participation in all stages of the programmes for sustainable development

q develop specific training for women engaged in environmental decision-making

L. The girl-child  - strategically objectives:

1.   Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child

2.   Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls

3.   Promote and protect the rights of the girl-child and increase awareness of her needs and potential

4.   Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and  training

5.   Discrimination against girls in health and nutrition

6.   Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labor and protect young girls at work

7.   Eradicate violence against the girl-child

8.   Promote the girl-child’s awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life

9.   Strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of the girl-child

Realized progress

Comments:

At pre-university school, while school enrollment rate is generally gender balanced, it is an increasing rate of not attendance or school abandon for girls, especially in the case of large families  in the rural areas and in Rroma communities.  On one hand this is due to increased poverty.  On the other hand, it is the old mentality that the only viable future for girls it is the marriage and the achieving of domestic activities.

It is an increased perception of  violence against the girl-child, out of violence against children, here including the  institutionalized girls.

According to a research, regarding the physical violence,  15.5% girls between 14 and 19 years old  disclosed at least one violent event they experienced until the actual age. The rate found for the whole group  was 17,4%, with a  distribution between sexes of:  59,9% girls and 40,1% boys.

As for the aggressors/perpetrators of physical violent acts:  37,2% are the fathers, 9,2% the mothers, and the proportion of family members – with siblings included – is 52,5%.  Beating with fists, legs, and slapping are the most spread acts – 84,4%.

Referring to the sexual aggression: for the whole group (girls and boys) the found rate is 14.1%, with a distribution of  90,9% girls and 9,1% boys (9 girls for one boy).  For the girls group, the rate is 18,8%, that means that one from five girls was sexually aggressed/abused until their present age. The most frequent form they are abused is forced/unpleasant touching – hugs, kisses, fondling (62%);  rape attempts – 19.3%, rape – 9%.  Perpetrators: strangers – 35,2%; friends – 29,6%;  acquaintance – 23,9%;   family members – 6,9%;  teachers – 1.9%.

Recommendations

- change the conservative curricula and  the textbooks by providing women’s specific life experiences and avoiding any idea of the inferiority of women’s roles in society

- pay special attention to  educate the girl-child  to know and understand the women’s rights

- allocate resources to stop the school abandon for girls 

- elaborate programs for the social integration of the girl-child from different communities

- assist and protect the institutionalized girls and prevent any abuse against them 

ANNEX I.  References

1. Femeile si barbatii in Romania [Women and Men in Romania].  Bucuresti, CNS; UNDP, 1999

2. Gen si educatie [Gender and education]. Laura Grünberg, Mihaela Miroiu (Coord.). Bucuresti, AnA, 1997

3. Gen si politica [Gender and politics]. Liliana Popescu (Coord). Bucuresti, AnA, UNDP, 1998

4. Gen si societate [Gender and society]. Mihaela Miroiu, Laura Grünberg (Coord.) Bucuresti, AnA, 1997

5. Invatamantul romanesc azi. Studiu de diagnoza [Romanian Education Today. Diagnosis]  Adrian Miroiu (Coord.) Iasi, Polirom, 1998.

6. National human development report. Romania 1999. Bucharest, UNDP, 1999

7. National report on institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women. Bucharest, AnA, Karat Coalition, 1999.

8. National Strategy for Poverty Alleviation. recommendations and alternative solutions- Romania 1998. UNDP, 1998

9. Participarea politica: femei si institutii in Romania [Political participation: Women and Institutions in Romania].  Georgeta Adam.   Comunicare prezentata la Congresul international “Femeile construiesc Mediterana secolului XXI, Valencia, 8-20 martie 1999.

10. Some issues regarding sex discrimination in the implementation of Romanian legislation. Monica Macovei. In: Status of Women in Romania 1997-1998. Bucharest, UNDP, 1999, p. 45-62.

11. The State of women’s health in Romania. Barbala Koo. In: Status of Women in Romania 1997-1998. Bucharest, UNDP, 1999, p. 88-102.

12. Violenta impotriva femeilor si media din Romania. [Violence against women and Romanian media]. Georgeta Adam.  Comunicare prezentata la Congresul international ‘Familia – Europa – Secolul XXI”, Atena, mai, 1998.

13. Women and education. Mihaela Miroiu. In: Status of Women in Romania 1997-1998. Bucharest, UNDP, 1999, p.78-87.

14. Women in the economy. Despina Pascal. In: Status of Women in Romania 1997-1998. Bucharest, UNDP, 1999, p. 63-77

15. The Promise of Democracy: Women in Formal Politics in Post-Communist Romania, Clionadh O’Keeffe, 1999, Dissertation,    Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

16.  "From Equality to Equal Access in Employment in Romania".  Dina Loghin.  Presented at the conference 'Making  the Transition Work for Women in Europe and Central Asia' - the World Bank, Washington DC, June 7-8, 1999

17. Study on the situation of trafficked women in Romania and on the national Romanian legislation concerning trafficking in women and forced prostitution, SEF Foundation – for the Boltzman Institute, 2000.

ANNEX II. List of participating NGOs

1. An A Society for Feminist Analyses

24 Ferdinand Blvd., apt. 11, 70313 Bucharest

Tel./Fax +40-1 252 49 59

 E-mail: ana_saf@kappa.ro

 Web: http://www.anasaf.ro

2. ARIADNA – Women Journalist’s Association

16 Stirbei Voda Street, apt. 21, 70732 Bucharest

Tel./Fax: +40-1 314 60 14

E-mail: adam@fx.ro

3. ARTEMIS – Center for Women and Girls Victims of Violence

4 Sindicatelor Street, 3400 Cluj-Napoca

Tel./Fax: +40-64 193 590

E-mail: artemis@mail.dntcj.ro

4. Equal Opportunities for Women  (SEF)

17 Impacarii Street, Bloc 913, apt. 3, 6600 IASI

Tel./Fax: +40-32 211 713

E-mail: sef@mail.dntis.ro

5. IKON Association for Women’s Advancement

31 Calea Girocului, apt. 1, 1900 Timisoara

Tel./Fax: +40-56 182 576

E-mail: office@ikon.dnttm.ro

6. League for Human Rights Defense

11 Dem I Dobrescu Street, 70119 Bucharest

Tel: +40-1 313 71 90;  Fax: +40-1 312 17 28

E-mail: lado@pcnet.pcnet.ro

7. Mures Women’s Forum

56 Piata Trandafirilor, apt. 5, 4300 Targu Mures

Tel: +40-65 137 667;  Fax: +40-65 164 888

E-mail: briscanl@hotmail.com

8.  The National Coalition for Reproductive Health

31 Primaverii Blvd, apt. 3, Sector 1 Bucharest

Tel.: +40-1 230 39 29;  Fax: +40-1 230 07 90

E-mail: policyrom@fx.ro

9. The National League of Women

19 Visarion Street, Sector 1 Bucharest

Tel.: +40-1 650 72 61;  Fax: +40-1 211 10 37

10. The National League of Women –  Constanta Branch

49 Mircea cel Batran Street, Bloc R19, 8700 Constanta

Tel./Fax: +40-41 615 919

E-mail: frangeti@rnc.ro

10. The National Union for Women’s Rights in Romania

55 Carol I Blvd., Sector 2 Bucharest

Tel./Fax: +40-1 313 92 98

E-mail: cmfb@com.ro

11. National Women’s Union of Romania

244 Dorobanti Street, Sector 1 Bucharest

Tel.: +40-1 230 69 67;  Fax: +40-1 410 05 75

12. Pro Democratia Association –  Iasi Branch

30 Bucium Street, 6600 Iasi

Tel : +40 - 093 287 995;   +40-32 211 713

13. Pro Europe League

3 Piata Trandafirilor, 4300 Targu Mures

Tel./Fax: +40-65 217 584

E-mail: laura@proeuro.netsoft.ro

14. The Romanian Forum of Social – Democrat Women

1 Aleea Modrogan , 70024 Bucharest

Tel: +40-1 230 18 22;   Fax: +40-1 312 36 15

E-mail: brucherm@dias.kappa.ro

15. The Romanian Nursing Association

231 Tecuci Street, 6200 Galati

Tel./Fax: +40-36 316 142

E-mail: nursing@fx.ro

16. Rroma Women’s Association

43 Soseaua Colentina, Bloc R13, apt. 83, Sector 2, Bucharest

Tel./Fax: +40-1 688 53 85

E-mail: violeta@dnt.ro

17. SOS-SPER Club

48 Costache Negri Street, 6600 Iasi

Tel.: +40-32 233 168;  Fax: +40-32 211 713

18. Women’s Institute

13 Domnita Anastasia Street, apt. 36, 70623 Bucharest

Tel./Fax: +40-1 312 25 43

E-mail: dana@icpa.ro