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Gender Expertise in Romania, where to? Consultative meeting between NGOs and Academia

February 7, 2022

At the initiative of Plural Association and AnA – Society for Feminist Analysis, on January 31, 2022, a consultative meeting was held at Intersect Center in Bucharest, on professionalization of gender equality expertise in Romania.

The meeting was attended by professor Ionela Băluță, coordinator of the M.A. Programme “Equal Opportunities Policies in Romanian and European Context” within the University of Bucharest, and lecturer Alina Dragolea, coordinator of M.A. Programme "Politics, Gender and Minorities" within the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA), Bucharest. Both master programmes offer training on equal opportunities and gender equality, at postgraduate level.

In Romania, since 2014, two new occupations related to gender expertise have been introduced in COR – the Romanian Classification of Occupations:

  • Equal opportunities expert (code 242230), for higher education graduates;
  • Equal opportunities technician (code 341207), for secondary / high school education graduates.

During the meeting, the preliminary results of a report on gender expertise in Romania were presented, which indicate that these two occupations need consistent revisions in order to comply with the European and international recommendations. Occupational standards for these two occupations are mainly focused on situations of crisis and violence and not on equal opportunities as a whole, and fail to address multiple forms of inequalities based on disability, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, which are particularly complex issues.

Irina Ilisei, from the Plural Association, pointed out, among other things, that the training courses structure from the occupational standard is focused on providing skills for specific situations of prevention, interventions in domestic violence, discrimination and trafficking cases, and is not aligned with the role of equal opportunities experts as stated by Law no. 178/2018, respectively:

(...) the expert / technician in equal opportunities or the person designated with responsibilities in equal opportunities and treatment between women and men has the following main responsibilities:

a) analyzes the appearance and evolution context of the gender discrimination phenomenon, as well as the violation of the equal opportunities between women and men principle and recommends solutions for the compliance with this principle, according to the law;

b) formulates recommendations / observations / proposals in order to prevent / manage / remedy the risk context that could lead to the violation of the equal opportunities and treatment between women and men while complying with the principle of confidentiality;

c) proposes measures to ensure equal opportunities and treatment between women and men and assesses their impact on women and men;

d) develop action plans on the implementation of equal opportunities between women and men, including at least: active measures to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment between women and men and the elimination of direct and indirect discrimination based on gender, measures to prevent and combat harassment in the workplace, measures of equal treatment in terms of remuneration policy, promotion and decision-making;

e) develops, substantiates, evaluates and implements programs and projects in the field of equal opportunities and treatment between women and men;

f) provides specialized consultancy for the national and European law enforcement regarding equal opportunities between women and men.  

The occupational standards and, implicitly, the training courses’ content should include aspects related to gender inequalities concepts and context, and provide skills to develop action plans, programs and measures to promote equality of opportunities, both in terms of the organization’s staff and the activities carried out by their institution.

Another aspect discussed during the meeting refers to the trainers of the training courses dedicated to experts / technicians on equal opportunities, courses supplied by accredited entities. An agreed proposal was for trainers to be graduates of postgraduate programs in gender studies or equal opportunities, a condition that would ensure the best quality of the courses. In this way, the human resources trained in the universities’ master and doctoral programmes can use their acquired skills to train better professionals. 

Last but not least, it was agreed that the revision of occupational standards on equal opportunities should be carried out in parallel with concrete obligations for public and private entities to ensure equal opportunities. Among the proposals discussed is the obligation of institutions/ companies with more than 50 employees to appoint a person designated for equal opportunities, to develop an equality plan and an internal procedure, but also to introduce the approach of gender mainstreaming in all the activities that the public or private entity carries out.

Proposals for the revision of the standards for the occupation of equal opportunities expert / technician will be discussed in the next period with ANC – the National Authority for Qualifications and ANES – the National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men, in order to harmonize them with the provisions of Law 178 / 2018 and with EU and international recommendations.

These initiatives are part of the project "EGALIS: Gender equality through social change and education", developed by the Partnership for Equality Center, in partnership with the Front Association, AnA - the Scientific Society for Feminist Analysis, ACTEDO - the Action Center for Equality and Rights Association Man, PLURAL Association and SEX vs The STORK Association, with financial support from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants Grants 2014 -2021.

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