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Women’s Status in Romania. A Shadow Report to the CEDAW 23rd Session (2000)

Women’s Status in Romania

A Shadow Report to the CEDAW 23rd Session

Submitted by

Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations of Romania

April, 2000

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY……………………………………………………………5

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………8

I. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN……………………………………11

II. PROSTITUTION. TRAFFIKING IN WOMEN………………………13

III. POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE……………………………………14

IV. EDUCATION…………………………………………………………16

V. EMPLOYMENT. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BENEFITS………18

VI. HEALTH ……………………………………………………………20

VII. RURAL WOMEN…………………………………………………22

VIII. MASS MEDIA……………………………………………………23

ANNEX I. BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………25

ANNEX II. LIST OF PARTICIPATING NGOs…………………………27

SUMMARY

18 Romanian women NGOs and human rights NGOs joint their efforts in producing this Shadow Report. These NGOs are active in different fieldsand cover almost all geographic areas of the Romanian territory.

The report focuses on issues considered top priorities or matters of concern for all Romanian women: violence, prostitution and trafficking in women, political and public life, education, employment and economic and social benefits, health, rural women, women’s image in media.

VIOLENCE

The Romanian legislation does not yet regulate domestic violence separately. While the number of women victims of domestic violence, reported in 1998, is 5 times bigger than in 1996, at present there is no specific legal protection for victims of domestic violence. Marital rape is not recognized.

Sexual harassment is not covered by the criminal law. Offence of any kind against women, in public places, is not an infringement of the law unless it involves the disturbance of a large number of people.

The state's slowness in changing legislation and implementing affirmative actions against domestic violence, the lack of education programmes both for the public and those involved in applying the low illustrates indifference towards the victims of this kind of violence and perpetuates a discriminative attitude and mentalities regarding women's status in the family.

PROSTITUTION. TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN

During the last decade, Romania became a growing source of women prostitutes recruited and trafficked in other countries by international networks of procurers. Romania is also a transit point often chosen by traffickers from Moldova and CIS trying to get in western European countries or in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

In spite of the worrying development of the phenomenon during the last decade, no specific law on trafficking has been adopted. Furthermore, the law does not provide measures for both preventing and dismantling of trafficking networks as well as of international trafficking.

The main target group of the procurers and traffickers are young women with very low or no livelihood, with little education, usually coming from broken homes.

Poverty and gaps in internal legislation, insufficiently adapted to the phenomenon and not yet harmonized to international legislation remain the main causes of prostitution and trafficking in women in Romania.

POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE

Although the Romanian Constitution guarantees equal participation of women (about 51% of the population) after 1990 women virtually disappeared from the political and public life and from the decision making process.

The national mechanisms for women’s advancement benefit from little official / political support (their most important draft laws are pending for years in Parliament's commissions) and are under-financed. Consequently, they are far from having the strong positive impact they are suppose to have on women's status

Women are dramatically underrepresented at both local and highest levels of decision making. In 1998 only 71,000 out of 270,000 decision-makers were women.

EDUCATION

Romanian legal framework does not provide explicit discrimination, girls and women having access to all levels of public education. However, both poor economic conditions and perpetuation of old mentalities and stereotypes prevent achievement of de facto equality in education. Poverty and obsolete mentalities about their social role remain the main causes of not attending or abandoning compulsory school for girls coming from families with many children, especially in rural areas and in Rroma communities.

Education, a sector with one of the lowest income level in the Romanian economy is also a sector where female work force prevails. Women, highly employed in pre-university education level, are underrepresented in teaching and managerial positions at higher education level.

Although the reform of the educational system registered important progress, at the level of structure and content of education there are still horizontal and vertical gender discrepancies which induce the idea of the inferiority of women’s role in society. This kind of education undermines the modernization and development of Romanian by leading to inaccurate use of half of its development potential.

EMPLOYMENT. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BENEFITS

All Romanian regulations for labour and social security are stating the principle of equality between women and men. However, with few exceptions (related to maternity issues) they do not include specific provision, implementation mechanisms and methodologies meant to ensure an equal status for women.

Work opportunities for women are lower than those are for men are. Women have more access to part-time jobs or jobs requiring lower qualifications.

In 1998 the number of women in decision-making positions was four times lower than the number of men.

Both public and private companies do not have equal opportunity policies in recruiting their personnel.

Unemployment affects more women than men, at all age categories. Unemployed women have no maternity related income and social benefits. Employed mothers with children are poorly supported by the existing child care system.

HEALTH CARE AND FAMILY PLANNING

Romanian legislation does not address women’s health issues specifically. Family planning issues excepted, no specific policies are implemented. Disturbing health indicators show that Romania the highest or one of the highest rates of mortality where maternity, cervical cancer and women affected by cardiovascular diseases is concerned.

Limited access to family planning and contraceptive education and services (only 11 reference centres and 230 local centres with insufficiently trained staff, all located in urban area) results in abortion’s remaining the main contraceptive means (2,2 per 1,000 women in 1999, the highest rate in Europe).

Access to medical health care services, it is practically denied to unemployed women, women with low income (elderly women, single mothers, and women in rural areas) because:

In Romania there are no relevant studies on the relationship between women's work and their state of health.

Relevant data and studies on factors that potentially influence elderly women's health (nutrition, stress, impact of poverty and the need to be involved in useful activities) are still missing.

RURAL WOMEN

45% of the Romanian population lives in the rural areas. 53,2% of the female labour force is occupied in agriculture and represent one of the most disadvantaged categories of population in Romania. Women in the rural area still living and working in the old way of life, based on pre-modern agricultural working means and archaic family relationships. Most of them have little access to any kind of information, which results in their reduced possibilities of improving their economic and social conditions.

MEDIA

Media doesn’t reflect the major problems that women have to deal with during transition. Its general message about women oscillates between the image of women as victims and of women as prostitutes.

Media is not gender-sensitive; therefore it has no contribution to the definition of the general problems of women in the Romanian contemporary society or to the formulation of possible measures and actions for improving their status.

CONCLUSIONS

The uncertainty caused by a difficult transition process and the related economic crisis put women’s issues in a shadow. Due to the lack of contribution of the main opinion leaders (political parties, media etc.), there is a serious deficit in defining and approaching the situation of women and, in identifying the causes and formulating the strategies and policies for the improvement of this situation. Consequently, at public opinion /community level, gender issues are unclearly perceived and marginalized, deterioration of the situation of women and the infringement of basic women’s rights in some segments of society being received with no reactive attitude.

More action and more coordinated efforts towards building up a new mentality and an adequate institutional framework, especially from the part of the political actors, media and non-governmental organizations,  are necessary to improve the situation.

INTRODUCTION

OVERVIEW

This report was written by a Working Group consisting in representatives of AnA Society for Feminist Analyses (Coordinator), Women's National Union from Romania and Pro Europe League – Women’s Programme.

18 Romanian women NGOs and human rights NGOs (listed in Annex II) joint their efforts in producing this Shadow Report. The women NGOs are active in different fields such as: economy, education, research, health, politics, violence, women’s rights, , All of them developed projects related to women’s human rights and are familiar with the content of both CEDAW and the Platform of Action adopted in Beijing (1995). They also cover almost all important geographic areas of the Romanian territory.

The information and statistical date included in this report have been collected at AnA Centre from official sources as well as from research studies published by well-known experts (see Annex II).

The recommendations are the product of the NGOs consultation held in Sinaia, 8-9 April 1999.

The report focuses on issues considered top priorities or matters of concern for the Romanian women: violence, prostitution and trafficking in women, political and public life, education, employment and economic and social benefits, health, rural women, women’s image in media.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Romania is an East European country with a territory of 237,500 square kms. (roughly 91,800 sq. miles) bordered by the Black Sea (South - East), the Republic of Moldova (East), Ukraine (North), Hungary (North - West), Yugoslavia (South – West) and Bulgaria (South, with the Danube River as a natural frontier).

The country is historically composed of three regions: West of the Carpathian Mountains lies Transilvania (including Banat and Transilvania regions), the south plains are called Valahia (including Oltenia, Muntenia and Dobrogea regions), and the north-eastern region is called Moldova.

On January 1, 1998, Romania had a population of 22,526,096 (the same as Venezuela or Malaysia) and ranked 43rd in the world and 13th in Europe in this respect. In urban areas there are 12,387,000 inhabitants who account for 55.0% of the country's population, in rural areas there are 10,139,000 inhabitants that is 45.0%. The male

population was 11,027,000 (49.0%) and the female population was 11,499,000 (51.0%).

According to the census returns of January 7, 1992, Romania's population was 22,810,035 of whom 89.4% were Romanians and 10.6% were ethnic minorities. Of the latter, 7.1% of total population were Hungarians; 1.7% Rroma; 0.5% Germans; 0.3% Ukrainians; 0.04% Jews, etc.

The official language is Romanian, a language of Latin origin (from the same linguistic group with French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc.), also using the Latin alphabet. One fact worth mentioning is that Romanian is the only Latin language in Eastern Europe, as the others generally have a Slavonic origin. This is due to the fact that once this territory was part of the Roman Empire.

POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CONTEXT

After half a century of communism, following the December 1989 revolution, that lead to the radical change of its political regime, Romania found itself engaged in a difficult process of transition from a totalitarian regime with an ultra-centralized socio-political and economic system to a democratic one. Since then, Romania introduced important legislation and new institutions have been created in order to establish and consolidate a lawful State, in order to create the legal framework for a market economy and a multi-party, democratic system.

In 1991, a new Constitution has been adopted by popular referendum.

The present Government and Parliament structures are the result of the general elections held in November 1996, won out by a coalition that includes the Democratic Convention (center-right parties), the Union of Social Democrats (center-left parties) and the Democratic Union of the Hungarians in Romania. The Romanian Social Democratic Party, that ruled Romania until the mentioned elections, is now the main opposition party.

Romania is an associate member of the European Union (since 1993), a member of the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme (since 1994) and a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (since 1997). In February 2000 Romania has been admitted, together with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Slovakia to the official negotiation for accession to the European Union.

Strongly committed to the European Union and NATO, Romania made special efforts in order to harmonize the national legislation with the European one, an objective which, with few exceptions, has been accomplished. For instance, it has ratified virtually all-major international equal opportunity conventions.

Unfortunately, the new general legal framework is not accompanied by the necessary implementation judicial instruments and specific policies, aimed at insuring de facto equality between women and men in Romania.

Moreover, so far no major political party included a gender dimension within its platform and structure. Political parties’ programmes fail to tackle the most severe transition related problems affecting women, such as family planning, social services for women and particularly for mothers, violence against women, inclusion of women in the political life.

The situation is no more encouraging where the economy is concerned. Romania has an unbalanced economy, crossing a crisis with a strong impact on the living standards of its population. Slow and uncertain steps in privatization and reform of economic sector, low productivity, a decreasing Gross Domestic Product, high inflation rate (55,7% in February 2000 compared to February 1999), an extremely low average net salary (under 100 USD) and high unemployment are some of the crisis characteristics in Romania.

Without trying to minimize the measures taken by the different governments toward restructuring and reform, and their meaning in terms of progress in consolidating the democratic process started in 1989, the general state of the economy and, implicitly, of the population can be labeled as one of generalized poverty.

On this background, corruption, prostitution, the traffic in drugs and weapons began to proliferate. Women, defined by the National Commission for Poverty Alleviation as a “high risk group”, are more exposed to the social disorder associated to the transition related crisis.

In spite of this worrying picture, Romania’s political agenda remain full of good intentions and very little achievements. Global objectives and general principles that look very good on paper “materialized” in laws that have been adopted, but not yet implemented, draft laws trapped in enforcement procedures, and political programmes waiting to be implemented.

I. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (Art. 3, 5, 6, 12, 15, 16)

Domestic violence

The Romanian legislation does not yet regulate domestic violence as separate offence. Offences and contraventions with general applicability involving domestic violence are included in the Criminal Code and Law no. 61/1991.

While the number of women victims of domestic violence, reported in 1998, is 5 times bigger than in 1996, at present there is no specific legal protection for victims of domestic violence. Marital rape is not recognized.

The state's slowness in changing legislation and implementing affirmative actions against domestic violence, the lack of education programmes both for the public and those involved in applying the low illustrates indifference towards the victims of this kind of violence and perpetuates a discriminative attitude and mentalities regarding women's status in the family.

Violence outside family

Rape. The possibility of withdrawing the preliminary complaint, of reconciliation of both parties and of marriage, which may occur at any stage of the trial, removing the criminal liability of the perpetrator, may subject the victim to moral pressure from him, her family and community, forcing her into an agreement against her will and provide the perpetrator with legal protection.

For offences like sexual relations with a minor (under 14, most of them girls) followed by the death of the victim the law provides charges of maximum 15 years in prison while for murder, murder in the first degree, and rape followed by the death of the victim provides 20 and 25 years respectively.

Sexual harassment is not covered by the criminal law.

Offence of any kind against a person, including a woman, in public places, is not an infringement of the law unless it involves the disturbance of a large number of people.

Recommendations:

§ Adoption of a special law – or at least a special article on domestic violence containing precise provisions, clear definitions and specific standards for evidence in cases of domestic violence.

§ Redefinition of rape and incest, providing more severe punishment when minors are victims.

§ Introduction of distinct charge and prosecution of violent acts committed against women by members of their families, including those which cause minor wounds; setting different and specific standards for evidence in cases of domestic violence.

§ Introduction of both precise and distinct charge of marital and dating rape and specific standards for evidence, to allow the victim to prove her allegations.

§ Delegating the investigation of cases of domestic violence, irrespective of the severity of wounds produced, to the criminal authorities, to enable them to intervene at any stage of the investigation.

§ Removal of the possibility of avoiding criminal charges by the "reconciliation of the parties" and, in compensation, the possibility of applying penalties, other than fines or imprisonment (e.g. community service).

§ Adoption of specific regulations and implementation of programs aimed at protecting the victims of domestic violence;

§ Legal changes should be accompanied by public policies aimed at educating

§ the public opinion and those involved in applying the law to understand and prosecute domestic violence.

§ Legal provisions (together with clear definition of the offence) for punishing sexual harassment.

II. PROSTITUTION. TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN (Art. 6)

In spite of the worrying development of the phenomenon during the last decade, no specific law on trafficking has been adopted. Articles 328 and 329 of the Penal Code are used for addressing both the incitation to, compulsion or facilitation of prostitution and trafficking. Trafficking is not defined. Trafficking and incitation to prostitution are punished in the same way, with 2-7 year prison and loss of civil rights.  Furthermore, the law does not provide measures for both preventing and dismantling of trafficking networks as well as of international trafficking.

During the last decade, Romania became a growing source of women prostitutes recruited and trafficked in other countries by international networks of procurers. Romania is also a transit point often chosen by traffickers from Moldova and CIS trying to get in western European countries or in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

The main target group of the procurers and traffickers are young women with very low or no livelihood, with little education, usually coming from broken homes.

Poverty and gaps in internal legislation, insufficiently adapted to the phenomenon and not yet harmonized to international legislation remain the main causes of prostitution and trafficking in women in Romania.

Some figures provided by the Institute for Research and Prevention of Criminality illustrate the above mentioned facts:

 

1997

 

49 legal causes

64 procurers

 

 

 

199 women prostitutes

31 under-aged

 

 

 

 

 

1998

 

46 legal causes

75 procurers

 

 

 

189 women prostitutes

34 under-aged

 

 

 

 

 

1999

 

165 legal causes

95 procurers

 

 

 

300 women prostitutes

46 under-aged

Recommendations:

§ Introduction in the Penal Code of specific provisions and clear definition for

§ trafficking.

§ Adoption of the necessary legal provisions for witness protection and implementation of witness protection programs.

§ Improvement in legal provisions for regulating border control

§ Introduction of preventing measures such as education programmes developed in schools, universities and communities by the Ministry of National Education together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs .

§ Implementation of special programmes, run in cooperation with NGOs, in order to recuperate, reeducate and reintegrate persons involved in prostitution and trafficking in women.

III. POLITICAL AND PUBLIC LIFE (Art. 7, 8)

Although the Romanian Constitution guarantees equal participation of women (about 51% of the population) after 1990 women virtually disappeared from the political and public life and from the decision making process. However, in 1996 in response to international requirements, gender issues were introduced on the political agenda as a principle and a Department for Women's Rights and Family Oriented Policies was established in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. In March 1999 the Department has been reduced to a lower rank (direction). At present it is functioning within the under the title Direction for Equal Opportunities within the Department for the Coordination of the Labour Market and Salaries. The responsibilities that the small Direction must face exceed its available human and material resources.

 In 1997 a Sub-commission for Equal Opportunities was established in the Romanian Parliament.

Both institutions (Direction and Sub-commission), aimed at promoting draft laws and national programmes addressing women's specific problems benefit from little official / political support (their most important draft laws are pending for years in Parliament's commissions) and are under-financed. Consequently, they are far from having the strong positive impact they are suppose to have on women's status. Both their existence, role and function and the little changes they managed to make in certain domains are un-sufficiently publicized.

In February 2000 an Inter-Ministerial Commission on Equal Opportunities was set up in order to ensure the co-ordination of the efforts made at national level to initiate and develop a gender approach in the Romanian legislation. At the time this report is being written, no clear strategy and/or plan of action related to the activity of this body have been exposed to the public.

State makes also un-sufficient steps in publicizing the international normative acts regarding women and gender equality ratified by Romania and the way they can be retrieved in national legislation.

Women are unacceptably less represented than men at the highest levels of decision making are. They represent only 7% of the House of Representatives and 2% of the Senate. At governmental level, with only two brief exceptions, no women had ever lead a ministry during the last decade. The same situation is to be found at local political and administrative level. For instance, only 3% from the total number of mayors are women.

In 1998 only 71,000 out of 270,000 decision-makers were women.

Recommendations:

§ Introduction of affirmative policies in order to increase the number of women in politics, administration and decision-making process, both at local level and in high rank positions.

§ Creation of an Equal Opportunity Working Group (5-6 experts agreed by all political parties), working under the Prime Minister’s umbrella, aimed at assessing needs and priorities in this area, human and financial resources that Romania could afford in solving the identified priorities and potential partners to be involved.

§ Establishment of an Equal Opportunities Office under the Prime Minister’s coordination, authorized to elaborate the national strategy and the related programmatic documents and of an Equal Opportunities Unit in each ministry, in order to mainstream  gender in the governmental programme and in all sectorial policies.

§ Establishment, at local government level of local Equal Opportunities Units aimed at mainstreaming gender at the bottom, and at implementing local and national policies.

§ Establishment of a Women’s Information Centre with government’s support and in partnership with women’s NGOs

§ More transparency and publicity around the governmental policies, programmes, laws and international conventions respectively initiated, adopted and ratified by the State.

§ Initiation of media campaigns and use of the education system for increasing public awareness with regard to the community benefits from promoting women in decision making positions

IV. EDUCATION (Art. 10)

The Romanian legal framework does not contain direct discrimination, girls and women having access to all levels of public education.

However, inequalities still persist and they manifest at two levels: 1) women’s equal access to all forms of education, including access to any kind of teaching career and educational management position; 2) correct representation of women’s specific life experiences in educational curricula, at all level of education.

Both poor economic conditions and perpetuation of old mentalities and stereotypes prevent achievement of de facto equality in education.

At pre-university level, school enrolment rate is more or less gender balanced, poverty remaining the main cause of illiteracy and of abandoning compulsory school for girls coming from families with many children, especially in rural areas and in Rroma communities. In these social categories also persists the mentality according to which girls can manage through life by marriage and achieving domestic activities while boys are supposed to get involved in economic and social life of the community.

Education, a sector with one of the lowest income level in the Romanian economy is also a sector where female work force prevails. Between 1990-1997 the female teaching personnel was 99% in preschool education, 74% in primary and lower secondary education, 60% in upper secondary education.

Women, highly employed in pre-university education level, only occupied 35,1% of teaching positions at higher education level (in 1997). Very few women are Professors (446 out of 5753 in 1996/1997) or Associate Professors (776 out of 3669). Most of them are Lecturers (2233 out of 8791) and Assistants (2250 out of 6996). Research teaching personnel consisted in 1996/1997 in 74 men and 14 women.

The Ministry of National Education does not provide on a regular basis, statistical data concerning the number of women in managerial positions in higher education. However, it is certain that women are dramatically underrepresented among deans, rectors and vice-rectors (one women rector, three women vice rectors and a small number of deans). Women represent only 10% in the National Council for Educational Reform and they hold no leading position.

In spite of some real progress made during the last years, at the content level of education gender discrimination is the result of the conservative curricula, textbooks and teaching methods still in use in Romania.

Romanian education system still ignores the education for private life, and discourages women graduates both intellectually and socially by lack of models of feminine successful enterprises including their participation in history. Curricula also ignore women’s specific life experiences (pregnancy, birth giving, child rearing etc.) treating them as trivial or unimportant issues.

This kind of education gives girls low standard life and professional aspirations and little capacity of affirmation in private and public life. It also undermines the modernization and development of Romania by leading to inaccurate use of half of its development potential.

Recommendations:

The introduction of a strong gender dimension within the educational reform is the only possible means for correcting this situation.

§ Training workshops for academics, especially rectors, deans and chair-holders for analyzing the percentage aspects of human resources policies as well as aspects concerning inclusion of gender studies in university curricula.

§ Qualitative research on students’ and graduates’ motivation in starting an academic career, especially on mechanisms of discouraging women in envisaging university careers or managerial positions.

§ Establishment of a reward system for higher education and secondary education institutions that promote equal opportunities for women and men by means of curricula and admission mechanisms (especially for Rroma girls and for girls that graduated in rural areas).

§ Introduction in University Charts of specific measures against sexism and sexual harassment in campuses and academic institutions.

§ Integration of elements concerning education for private life, nonsexist education, women’s experiences and contribution in the curricula of different disciplines, especially those dealing with civic education, history, social sciences, language studies.

§ Inclusion of a “gender and education” module in pedagogical education both at secondary and tertiary level, in order to increase awareness concerning social aspects of gender

V. EMPLOYMENT. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL BENEFITS  (Art. 11, 13)

All Romanian regulations for labour and social security are stating the principle of equality between women and men. However, with few exceptions (related to maternity issues) they do not include specific provision, implementation mechanisms and methodologies meant to ensure an equal status for women.

Work opportunities for women are lower than those opened to men. Women have more access to part-time jobs or jobs requiring lower qualifications.

Certain reluctance continues to persist in appointing women in management structures and in decision making position. This occurs particularly in male dominated staff and is based on assumptions regarding women's attitudes rather than on competence. In 1998 the number of women in decision-making positions was four times lower than the number of men.

Private companies do not promote equal opportunity policies in recruiting their personnel. They prefer men to women applicants in order to avoid the payment of the legal benefits related to maternity leave.

Female labour force is unevenly distributed. Only a small number of women have qualified and highly qualified jobs while the number of women with non-skilled or low skilled-jobs has increased. Women are largely occupied in sectors with very low income (76,0% in health sector, 70,6% in education, mostly at primary and secondary level etc.) and in marginal sectors, for instance as unpaid family workers (71% out of which 98% are women in rural areas working their own holding). These last ones live outside the social and health insurance system, which turns them into a highly vulnerable category.

Due to the acute lack of work opportunities, an important number of women (especially young women) choose the alternative of working either in the so called "sex industry", that boomed during the transition period or in the "underground" economy, on low incomes, no work contracts, no social insurance.

While the risk for sexual harassment at work has considerably increased, no legal provision for preventing and/or punishing it has been adopted.

Unemployment affects more women than men, at all age categories.  In 1998, the employment rate was 65.7% for men and 49.6% for women. Unemployed women have no maternity related income and social benefits. Employed mothers with children are poorly supported by the existing child care system. Furthermore, there are no pupil care systems outside school.

Retirement age is different for women (57) and men (62). The difference is not justified at least from a biological point of view since statistics show that, near retirement age, men’s mortality rate is at more than double than women’s mortality rate.

Recommendations:

§ Adoption and implementation of specific regulations, based on the principle of positive discrimination, aimed at ensuring de facto equality between women and men at work;

§ Adoption of special regulations aimed at obligating state and private companies with more than ten employees to report, on an annual basis, to the Ministry for Labour and Social Protection their plan of implementing equal opportunities.

§ Introduction of legal / administrative constraints for companies that do not report on equal opportunity actions as well as of fiscal facilities for companies that manage to develop leadership and monitoring programmes for women, in order to ensure a balanced representation in decision making structures.

§ Introduction of special measures of social protection for women working as unpaid family workers.

§ Adoption of specific regulations against sexual harassment at work;

§ Adoption of urgent measures for improving the preschool child care system and establishing pupil care systems in order support working mothers.

§ Modification of the legal provisions regarding retirement age, establishing general age limits with the possibility of reducing them on the request of female employees.

VI. HEALTH CARE AND FAMILY PLANNING (Art. 12)

Romanian legislation does not address women’s health issues specifically. Family planning issues excepted, no specific policies are implemented. Disturbing health indicators reflects this situation.

Maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in Europe (25 maternal death for 10000 live birth in 1995). Mortality from cervical cancer is the highest in Europe. Women’s mortality from cardiovascular diseases is more than double than the European average.

Limited access to family planning and contraceptive education and services (only 11 reference centres and 230 local centres with insufficiently trained staff, all located in urban area) results in abortion’s remaining the main contraceptive means (2,2 per 1,000 women in 1999, the highest rate in Europe). Most women do not use modern contraceptive methods because they fear side effects, because their partner prefers using a traditional method, or because they are not aware of any modern contraceptive method.

Lack of preparation for family life and education of inter-gender relationships mainly affects girls and adolescent females. Although school curriculum provides for 40 hours of education on family life in forms-5-12, this is not always applied in Romanian schools. Poorly informed teaching staff and a lack of specially qualified personnel results in most of these sexual education and family planning classes being replaced by traditional classes (mathematics, physics etc.) In this way, family behavioral patterns are passed on to, and continued by the youth, or replaced by those promoted by mass media.

Both persons affected by HIV/AIDS and their physicians are confronted with enormous shortages in terms of medical lab materials, medicines, specialized facilities.

As for the access to medical health care services, it is practically denied to unemployed women, women with low income (elderly women, single mothers, women in rural areas) because:

a) they cannot afford to pay the 7% of their gross income (required by the insurance law); b) private health services are much too expensive.

The inequity of access to health care services in urban and rural areas severely increased during the last ten years. Women living in rural areas have less and less access to medical assistance because of  "medical doctors'" migration from rural dispensaries to town. This migration is determined by the lack of ongoing training of medical staff, poor ambulance services, scarcity of investments in maintaining the existing medical facilities, premises, equipment or creating new ones, and last but not least the very low income of medical staff employed in the public health care system. This situation has a strong impact on the maternal-infantile mortality rate in Romania, maintaining it at the highest level in Europe.

In Romania there are no relevant studies on the relationship between women's work and their state of health.

Relevant data and studies on factors that potentially influence elderly women's health (nutrition, stress, impact of poverty and the need to be involved in useful activities) are still missing.

Recommendations:

§ Adoption of specific legal provisions concerning women’s health issues.

§ Consistent increase in the budget of the Health Care System in general, and the budget allocated to research and programs dealing with women’s health issues in particular.

§ Free access to health services for women that cannot afford to pay health insurance  (long term unemployed women, elderly women, single mothers with many children, women in rural areas).

§ Increase in number and improvement of family planning centres, setting up new centres, located in rural areas, provision of adequate training to medical staff serving in these centres.

§ Use of the 7% of the gross income collected from the population exclusively for health services, through the budget of the National House for Health Insurance, tightly monitored and controlled by appropriate financial authorities.

§ Special youth education programmes with regard to sexual diseases, other sexual life problems, family planning run by specially trained medical staff;

§ Implementation of consistent policy and budget for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and research.

§ Implementation of special policies, with real impact in terms of quantity (number of persons attended) and quality (increase of average life span), addressing elderly women's health.

VII. RURAL WOMEN (Art. 14)

45% of the Romanian population lives in the rural areas. 53,2% of the female labour force is occupied in agriculture. Women in the rural are still living and working in the old way of life, based on pre-modern agricultural working means and archaic family relationships. Most of them have little access to any kind of information, which results in their reduced possibilities of improving their economic and social conditions.

Rural women’s access to health care services decreased dramatically. Their access to family planning and contraceptive education and services are extremely limited. They usually have very low incomes and the lowest access to paid jobs. Due to the lack of information as well as of appropriate national strategies, they also have very limited access to economic resources.

They are highly underrepresented at decision-making level.

Recommendations:

§ Implementation of specific national policies focused on women in rural areas aimed at improving their health, economic and social status.

§ Urgent adoption of special measures aimed at improving rural women access to health care.

VIII. WOMEN’S IMAGE IN MASS MEDIA (Art. 5)

Far from reflecting the problems which women have to deal with during transition, problems related to equal opportunities, discrimination, and social and economic issues, media general message about women oscillates between the image of women as victims and of women as prostitutes.

Public radio stations, and weekly women’s magazines are very much involved in discussing daily aspects of women’s life such as self-care, fashion, housekeeping, and sentimental problems. Successful women or discussions about women’s potential contribution to the development of the country are rarely present in media. Even more rarely opened and discussed are the reasons and the remedies for the desperate social and economic situation that an important part of women population has to face.

Media has little gender-sensitiveness. Therefore it has little contribution to the definition of the general problems of women in the Romanian contemporary society or to the formulation of any possible measures and actions for improving their status.

Recommendations:

§ Initiation (by the government in cooperation with NGOs) of special training programmes and workshops for media workers aimed at creating/increasing  their gender awareness/sensitivity.

§ Initiation of experience exchange programmes with foreign media workers from countries with experience and tradition in dealing with women’s problems

§ Introduction of a gender dimension in the specific disciplines and of a gender education module in the curricula of higher education institutions that currently produce future journalists.

ANNEX I. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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.

ANNEX II. LIST OF PARTICIPATING NGOs

1. AnA 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 

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.ro7. 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


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