The proposals of the National Confederation for Female Entrepreneurship (CONAF) on recommending a quota of women’s participation in the boards of state-controlled companies, reducing the retirement age for women with three or more children and granting tax incentives for attracting them to work is already on the agenda of authorities and politicians.
According to a press release sent to AGERPRES, 30 percent of the members of the state companies’ boards will be women.
“We need to shape the legislative framework so that it is favorable to all vulnerable groups, and that women should be supported and promoted, have equal opportunities in the labor market, be able to become leaders if they deserve it and enjoy adequate social protection. It is a historic moment for Romania when all political forces came together to correct the shortcomings We started with a discussion on the topic in February, which we had with Madame Minister Gabriela Firea at the headquarters of the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunities, where we discussed the issues that worry us: the representation of women on the boards of companies in which the state is the majority shareholder. Then, in April, we had a discussion with the Prime Minister of Romania, Nicolae Ciuca, in which we described the challenges, problems and economic and social opportunities that would result from the application of measures to support gender equality,” CONAF President Cristina Chiriac told the debate “Together for equal opportunities for women and men”.
She pointed out that a first necessary step would be to adapt the legislation to the European model, which would have positive effects on the economy and society.
Cristina Chiriac considers that the recommendation to introduce a 30% quota in favor of women in the boards of state companies has an economic logic and a statistical argument, given that Romania has the highest share, 43%, of women graduating STEM (abbreviation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Central and Eastern Europe.
The CONAF proposal was supported by Minister Gabriela Firea, who stated that a greater involvement of women in decision-making is one of the main directions of action on which the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunities focuses.
“Legislation on equal opportunities for women and men has evolved in recent years, but not enough to really call ourselves Europeans in this regard too. In the state institutions there are very few women at leadership, decision-making level, while progress has been made in the private environment. Consequently, we will discuss with the Ministry of Finance the proposed legislative amendments on the establishment of gender quotas, following the model already implemented in other European countries, by amending OUG 109/2011 on corporate governance of public enterprises,” said minister Gabriela Firea.
In his turn, George Agafitei, state councilor, specified that “we are equal in rights, we must be equal in opportunities”.
“One of the reforms that will balance the gender scale is corporate governance. The selection of the members of the Boards of Directors of the state-owned companies will be based primarily on skills, and the random, subjective selection will be diminished, hoping that by 2026 it will even be eliminated. The Romanian government and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca actively support equal opportunities, including through programs dedicated to female entrepreneurship, and the Women in Tech program is set to be open to applicants this summer,” said George Agafita.
The introduction in legislation of financial support measures for mothers with more children and the provision of benefits, including on retirement, would support birth rates, encourage women to work and motivate companies to hire them.
Essentially, CONAF has proposed legislating a different retirement contribution period for mothers with at least three children, who would benefit from a 6-year reduction of the retirement age, with mothers of adopted children also benefiting from the regulation.
In addition, CONAF recommends adding an extra year starting with the fourth child. CONAF also proposes the granting of a financial supplement, compensatory, for the impossibility of pursuing a professional life at the desired level and in accordance with their demographic contribution to social security. The measure is already being successfully implemented in Spain.
The President of CONAF added that members of the Confederation are aware that the measures could be implemented later on, due to major economic problems and excessive budget deficits, which limit the possibility of taking immediate action, but we must prepare legal provisions on the European model to be applied in the coming years.
Gabriela Firea stated that in discussions with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunities also included legislative amendments regarding the introduction of tax benefits for mothers, including by reducing the amount of taxes paid by mothers with more than three children and recognizing parental leave as length of service.
The National Confederation for Female Entrepreneurship (CONAF) is the strongest confederation in Romania that brings together the interests of entrepreneurs in the European spirit of gender equality, equal opportunities.
CONAF is the largest entity of its kind in Romania, an organization that promotes and supports Romanian entrepreneurship, something unprecedented, which opens horizons of collaboration and cooperation both domestically and internationally.
CONAF was created as a result of the need to create a modern, sustainable and equitable entrepreneurial culture, not only for female entrepreneurship, but also for the entire business environment.
CONAF has 2 federations, 10 employers, 5 associations, 19 branches and over 3,000 companies.