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January 16, 2022

Women gain ground in Romanian politics

Romanian Constitution of 1923 was expressly guaranteeing the right to elect and to be elected only to men; only in 1929, a special law granted women the right to be elected in communal and county councils, if they were fulfilling certain requirements. Besides, considering the many years of communism, we could say that only recently women became free to make politics. However, Romania has made a very quick progress in terms of equality between men and women – a progress which was supported also by the adoption of the Law No.202/2002 on amending the Constitution, as well as by the influence of the organizations promoting the activism in this matter.

57,149 women were candidates in the local elections on June 5, most of them for a local or county counselor seat, while 1,183 women were candidates for a mayoralty, according to the data coming from the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).

Compared to this year’s local elections, 984 women were candidates in 2012, while only 116 of them won the elections, so changes are insignificant compared to the elections which took place 4 years ago, according to the data coming from the National Agency for Equality between Women and Men.

147 women were elected for the mayoralties in the local elections which took place on June 5, from almost 1,200 women who were candidates, representing 4.6 percent of the total number of mayors in Romania.

Thus, 4.6 percent of the total number of 3,186 mayors are women, namely 12.4 percent of the total number of the women who were candidates.

Out of the total number of 147 elected women for a mayoralty, 86 women represented PSD, 44 women represented PNL, 5 women were from UDMR, 3 from ALDE, 2 from Hungarian Civic Party, one from FDGR, one from UNPR and other 5 women were independent.

Counties with the most women elected are: Arad (where 8 women won the mayoralty), Cluj, Bacau, Constanta and Neamt (7 women were elected). The fewest women are in the following counties: Mehedinti, Olt, Ilfov, Covasna and Calarasi, where only one woman was elected, while in the counties of Bistrita, Brasov, Harghita and Timis no women were elected.

According to the results, most of the women were elected in counties from Transylvania and Moldavia.

The municipalities where women have won are: Aiud, Craiova, Reghin, Sibiu and Bucuresti, as well as the cities of Stefanesti (Arges), Turceni (Gorj), Seini (Maramures), Negresti-Oas (Satu Mare).

For the first time in the history, Bucharest City Hall is led by a woman. Thus, Gabriela Firea, 43 years old, made history after the local election in June 5, becoming the first woman who won the Capital’s mayoralty. She won her seat with a comfortable difference over the second candidate, less than 4 years since she entered into the party which supported her in the local elections and after 22 years of career in the Media.

Although they say there’s a strong woman behind any successful man, same thing seems to be available also for Gabriela Firea. She stated many times that she has been supported by the men in her life to become what she is today, namely a successful woman, with an enviable career, a fulfilling family life and a promising future.

“Besides my father, without whom I wouldn’t have existed, and my High School Romanian language teacher, who opened my eyes in the right direction, the men who were important in my life were those who trusted me in important moments. These men were, one by one, Mr. Octavian Stireanu, who offered me the first job in the central press, at “Azi” newspaper, followed by Mr. Tariceanu, who hired me at Radio Contact, actually opening the audio-visual doors to me; Mr. Mugur Isarescu, thanks to whom I had my first experience in administration at the highest level, when I was only 27 years old, and of course professor Voiculescu, who saw in me not only a promising journalist, but also a manager, giving me the opportunity to prove these skills. I also have to mention on this list my ex-husband Rasvan, who left us much too early, and Florentin, my current husband, who saw the politician in me, encouraging me to follow this direction, and who represents my most important support in this so cruel world. I left after the most important men in my life, namely my three sons: Tudor, a real 21 years old man, and much younger David-Petru and Zian-Mihail” stated Firea in an interview for femeide10.ro.

Starting this year, one of the most important cities in Romania, Sibiu, that gave also a President, namely Klaus Iohannis, will be led by a woman, Astrid Fodor, who won the mayoralty, being supported by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR). Until the elections, she was an interim mayor and was appreciated by the people in Sibiu.

“I am not an adept of that feminist idea that the woman has to be everywhere, but if the woman is capable and she can prove that she can do something, let her do it. Same rights, but same obligations, too. People can demand same things to us as they demand to men, in terms of professional achievements and capacities”, recently stated Astrid Fodor for Agerpres.

She enjoyed also the surprising support of the Roma ethnicity on voting, which, led by the self-appointed king Dorin Cioaba, gave up on voting candidates who are men, and they decided to vote a woman for the mayor position.

Another woman who also imposed herself in politics, having an original victory in the local elections on June 5, is Daniela Cimpean (PNL) – the first woman who is a President of a County Council (CJ) in Romania, also in Sibiu.

Being asked in an interview for Turnulsfatului.ro if she felt any advantage or disadvantage of being a woman competing for the local elections, Daniela Cimpean stated: “I can’t say I felt a difference, because I already have an experience as a politician; I am a politician since 10 years and people know me in a certain extent. For instance, somebody asked me on Facebook: “But, Madam, do you know how to knock nails?” I don’t think this is important. It was a nice approach. But, by the way, I do know how to knock nails. But I think there are very many regions in this country where a campaign in which the proposal for the County Council was a woman wouldn’t have been so successful.

Beyond the recent victories of the women at the local level, we have to mention that women’s representation within the EP is much over the national average, namely around 30 percent.

Furthermore, the growing trend of the women’s involvement and influence in the Romanian politics owes to the fact that Romanians are no longer reticent when it comes to vote women, if they prove they are hard-working and willing to change things in better. Besides, a survey made in 2015 by INSCOP revealed that 25 percent of the Romanian people appreciate that things would be better in Romania if women would involve more in politics, while 17.2 percent are of the opposite view.

However, there is enough room for improvement. Romania currently has only about 11.5 percent women in Parliament, compared to the situation in the European Parliament, where 37 percent of the MEPs are women, given that in 1979 only 16 percent of the total was accounted for by women. No need to recall that our country has never had a woman president, but, given the increasing involvement of women in solving social problems and hence in politics, this seems closer than ever.

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