Commission on Human Rights
Statement presented by Mr. Petru Dumitriu, delegation of Romania (on behalf of Mrs. Victoria Popescu Sandru, the Romanian candidate to CEDAW)
GENEVA - 17 April 2002 -
Promoting equal opportunities for women and men and ensuring their full enjoyment of all human rights is a priority of Romania.
My country has a non-discriminatory legislation that has been constantly modernized to incorporate the most advanced international norms and standards. For example, the Law on paternal leave was adopted in 1999 in order to facilitate a more equitable sharing of family and professional responsibilities. The Parliament will soon finalize its debates on the draft law on equal opportunities for men and women, which provides specific obligations for the public and private sectors. Further improvements have been brought to the national legislation to address violence against women and domestic violence.
The ongoing economic reforms in Romnia have had as side effects a rise in unemployment and reduction in social security. Among the most vulnerable groups there have been identified: women heads of families, unemployed women, elderly women, and women living in rural areas.
Concerned with safeguarding and improving people's quality of life, the Romanian authorities have placed poverty reduction on Romania's development agenda. The National Strategy for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation attaches great importance to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It is noteworthy, for example, the programmes and projects targeted at rural women and conducted through partnerships among governmental agencies, civil society, and international organizations. Projects such as: "Women in Development" and "Economic Empowerment of Rural Women" have contributed to job creation in the countryside and to mainstreaming a gender perspective in the economic policies.
The strong potential of women as agents of change in the society has been encouraged, inter alia, through the promotion of female entrepreneurship. From among the measures taken in Romania in the business-related policies and programmes I will mention: the business training for young women, facilitating their access to technologies, including ICT, market information and credit, financing programmes with non-refundable credit for youth.
The political empowerment of women is also essential for guaranteeing their contribution, on an equal footing with men, to the socio-economic management of the society. Some progress has occurred in Romania in this field. Following the year 2000 elections, the share of women in the Parliament increased from 5% to 9.5 %, which still leaves room for further improvement. Likewise, currently five women have been assigned the position of Cabinet ministers as well as numerous female vice-ministers and heads of governmental agencies.
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