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March 23, 2023

Gender quotas and women’s real representativity in Romania

At the end of last year, Alina Gorghiu (photo) was announcing that the draft law on gender quotas would be urgently filed in Parliament, in order for it to come into force concurrently with the 2016 elections.

Moreover, the Liberals were stating that this law would receive the support of all parties and that a petition had been started too.

In brief, the gender quota law aims at offering women a share of at least 30 per cent on party lists in local and parliamentary elections.

As a woman, I ask:

In the 21st century, for what is a gender quota law necessary? And in what way can this law be useful for me, a Romanian woman?

We like to believe that, after 20-something years of democracy, we have awakened and have reached a world in which certain values, which before 1989 were presented to us in a truncated and aberrant way compared to what existed in the civilized world outside the Communist wall, have become more than accessible, being a way of daily life.

We are living in a modern world. A world that forces us to adapt to it on the go, to observe it carefully and integrate it in our life every moment. Women are part of this world just as naturally as men are.

Moreover, I would dare say that now, when we are free to look into the lives of the other states of the world, not just to glean through a murky window that generates inaccessibility but to directly participate in this life, we see how women have an exceptional quotation in the civilized world.

At any minimal Google search, we find women presidents in countries one would not have thought capable of such openness and acceptance, women prime ministers, candidates for the highest and most important state offices, women that lead mega-companies and women that really have a say in the lives of millions of people.

In these conditions, one would expect Romania to be part of this circuit of mental openness and of promotion of such values in a natural and as transparent and real manner as possible.

Unfortunately, however, all that a regular woman from Romania – one that faces on a daily basis the problems we all face but particularly those that a Romanian woman faces – can note can be summed up through a sad and restricted truth: woman continues to be an object in Romania.

What I noticed in the activity of women holding important public offices in other countries is that for them the rest of the women do not represent a topic of populism, to be mentioned when one simply talks about womanhood from the level of the office held. On the other hand, what I can notice every day and every moment in our country is that precisely the women that reached important offices are those who completely dissolve and annul the ordinary Romanian woman’s role and importance, through complete indifference toward her and through a continuous demagogical charade used as any other politicking tool in moments and for goal of a purely personal interest.

And I find a proposal such as the one concerning gender quotas to be not only anachronistic – in a century in which we are no longer talking about women and men, but about people – but especially humiliating and dangerous, because, precisely against the backdrop of what it conveys beyond the appearance of good intention, it is a signal of a country of medieval condition and mentality.

That is why I honestly wonder, and I would like to ask this question to all women reading my message:

What did the women that have made it to privileged positions in the last 26 years do for the women whose ranks they left? Those women who maybe remained anonymous in society but who make society work.

What would the advantages of a law such as the one initiated by Alina Gorghiu and her colleagues be for us regular Romanian women? Could this law represent me? Does it represent my friend? My mother? My sister? My neighbour or colleague? The rest of the ordinary women in Romania? And how can it bring about the most honest and concrete benefit for us?

As things are, I wonder what is the point in splitting a party into women’s organizations too. Something that is not only an exact replica of the way the Romanian Communist Party was organized, but that serves only to emphasise the mental gulf in the vision of politicians in Romania and which, similarly to the gender gap, creates precisely the opposite effect of what the stated goal is.

Or, in other words, what is the importance of a 30, 40 or 10 per cent share held by ladies in the Romanian Parliament or in any other area of politics, apart from the eternal sentential project, solely verbalized, strictly for a political interest and strictly in order to improve the image of a political character or party, as a campaign slogan or as strictly a slogan in relation to the real problems of all of the women of this country?

I would really like these ladies that have been present for some time in various state structures, more or less politicized, but especially these ladies that are in Romania’s Parliament (and they have been there for some time!) to come up with concrete answers to all these questions raised by me and to many others which, naturally, are in the minds of all Romanian women, by going beyond the barrier of words, public relations of any kind, politicking, preciousness, personal superiority, and by moving into a natural world, that of the reality in which we are living.

And, as a final idea, maybe a suggestion for the ladies that are already in politics too. Since they are so preoccupied with their fellow women (not that this preoccupation is concretely felt anywhere), maybe it would not hurt at all for them to propose that of that minimum threshold of 30 per cent women on the lists 5 per cent should come from among those already in politics, leaving the other 25 per cent for women that are yet to attain the privilege of creating laws and facilities for themselves.

Maybe among these 25 per cent there will be at least one woman who, once reaching a position that apparently does credit to the other women and thus represents them for their specific problems too, would finally do something so that the Romanian woman would really feel represented. Not just mentioned.

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