Queen Elisabeth, Queen Maria, WWI hero Ecaterina Teodoroiu and feminist pioneer Alexandrina Cantacuzino were commemorated Wednesday evening, on the eve of March 8, the International Women’s Day, at the Cotroceni National Museum in Bucharest, as part of a “Conversations at the Museum” programme.
Called “The Women Who Made Greater Romania,” the conference dedicated to female personalities who participated in the achievement of the country’s national unity had historians Stefania Dinu, deputy director of the Cotroceni National Museum, and Alin Ciupala, having been moderated by journalist Matei Martin.
Ciupala drew a portrait of two sovereigns of Romania – Queen Elizabeth and Queen Marie.
“What separated the two apart was categorically the way of understanding their role within the Royal Family and on the public stages in Romania. While Queen Elisabeth was pleased to devote herself to promoting Romanian culture in Romania (…) and abroad and shied away from politics, Queen Marie very easily, decidedly and gracefully crossed the line between public and private places that governs the life of female sovereigns as well,” said Ciupala.
In his view, what brings the two sovereigns together is, “first of all, education.” “An education built on Western criteria, high-class education, and the education they received in the families they came from made them understand the role of education in terms of the future of women. Therefore, the two will primarily devote themselves to increase Romanian women’s awareness over the importance of education,” said Alin Ciupala.
According to the historian, the two queens were united by “a particular model of public commitments.”
“While during the Independence War of 1877 (…), Queen Elisabeth took on the role of ‘Mother of the Wounded’, by putting into operation a well-organised movement supporting the war efforts of Romania, the same the work will be done by Queen Marie, but to a different dimension altogether,” the historian said.
In her turn, Dinu praised the way that two other female personalities – Ecaterina Teodoroiu and Alexandrina Cantacuzino – marked Romania’s history.
“Two exceptional women, a heroine and an icon of the feminist mass movement in Romania, Ecaterina Teodoroiu and Alexandrina Cantacuzino, a commoner and a representative of the aristocracy, each carrying out their duties on their battle fronts, “said Dinu.
Dinu believes that although they did not actually fight with guns, Ecaterina Teodoroiu and a number of other female figures of science, cultural and social life did fight “on other fronts, precisely because women, after proving in World War that they can be equal to men, put on the backburner.”
Organised by the Presidential Administration and the Cotroceni National Museum, the event is part of the calendar of events that the museum is holding this Centennial Year.