The principle of equality between the sexes is enshrined in the Romanian constitution, though the main law governing gender equality was adopted only during the process of Romania’s entry into the European Union (EU). The EU acquis certainly played a key part in the elaboration of political and administrative tools for gender equality. The two national structures with gender-equality responsibilities (the National Agency for Equal Opportunities and the National Anti-discrimination Council) were created as part of the conditions for EU accession. The pace of implementation of gender mainstreaming in Romania was accelerated in the pre- and post-EU accession years (roughly 2005–2008), when it received special attention from the government. In addition, the European Year for Equal Opportunities for All (2007) also played an important role.
In Romania gender equality falls under the responsibility of two main institutions: the Directorate for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (which replaced the former National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men), within the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Senior Citizens, and the National Anti-discrimination Council. The former is exclusively dedicated to gender equality, while the latter is a general anti-discrimination body.
The body in charge of gender mainstreaming, under the coordination of the Directorate for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men, is the Commission for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (CONES), established in 2007 by a variant of Law No. 202/2002 Regarding the Equal Opportunities of Women and Men.
CONES had ceased to function in 2009 in the context of the reorganisation of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection, but it was re-established by a government decision in 2013. Law 202/2002 was amended to provide that the Ministry of Labour should elaborate national policies and action plans for the government in the field of equal opportunities between women and men, and coordinate the application of plans and policies.
Furthermore, in 2014 a Department for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women was established within the Ministry, with its own legal status: it is ‘responsible for drawing up, coordinating and applying government strategies and policy in the field of equal opportunities between men and women, and exercising state competencies in strategy and regulation for the field of equal opportunities between men and women’.
Laws and policies
The main law governing gender equality was adopted during the process of Romania’s entry into the EU, as part of the acquis communautaire: this is Law No. 202/2002 regarding the Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, which has been re-promulgated and amended several times. It enforces equal opportunities and equal treatment in the fields of labour, access to education, health, culture and information. It also establishes the National Commission on Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (CONES) and the National Agency for Equal Opportunities, replaced in 2010 by the Directorate for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men.
The National strategy for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men 2010–2012 sets out gender-equality priorities and includes provisions on matters such as legislation, institutional capacity, economic life, participation in decision-making and gender roles and stereotypes.
Methods and tools
Although some statistics are produced and gender indicators do exist, no other gender-mainstreaming methods are currently used.