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Complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Council against MEP Rareș Bogdan for discriminatory statements against women

October 26, 2022

Member organisations of the Coalition for Gender Equality have sent a petition to the CNCD asking for the sanctioning of MEP Rareș Bogdan. On 14 October 2022, in a broadcast on Realitatea Plus TV station, Mr Rareș Bogdan, referring to public sector employees, said the following:

"I've also seen a very visually appealing young lady - I benefit from the fact that my wife is on an airplane and doesn't see the show - very visually appealing, but perhaps in terms of training has little intellectual development or accumulation of knowledge. I've also seen it through various institutions. Now, what can I say? I did not send such people to institutions, I hope all those who did will stop or withdraw them, and if they want to have such initiatives, I do not tell them to adopt the traditional family, like me, or to go on the Christian conservative spirit like mine, if they want that, I have no problem, but let them pay out of their pocket, not out of the state's pocket. They want to have girlfriends, no problem! Take the penny out of their pocket and pay nicely for gifts, purses or whatever they want to do, not out of their state paycheck!"

Rareș Bogdan has discriminated between women and men on the basis of gender, putting young women employed in the public sector in an unfavourable light and certainly offensive to their training, work ethic and intellectual capacity. The statement that these women have 'less intellectual development or knowledge accumulation' violates their right to personal dignity (Article 15 of the republished O.G. 137/2000), creating a hostile, degrading and humiliating environment for them, while promoting sexist stereotypes.

We also draw attention to the fact that the statement perpetuates stereotypes and prejudices about women at the intersection of gender and age, referring to the fact that young women who are employed in certain jobs in the public sector are less intellectually able to occupy those positions and, above all, owe their positions to a man with whom they have sexual relations ("girlfriends"). The attitude of some men in the public sector, particularly those with political influence and who also hold important decision-making positions, towards women is worrying.

Given the political under-representation of women in our country and the many barriers they face in their careers throughout their professional lives, statements such as those made by Rareș Bogdan have no place in the public arena and should be punished accordingly.

This statement had the effect of restricting women's right to personal dignity on the basis of their sex and age (Article 15 of the republished O.G. 137/2000), was made by a politically influential person and created a hostile, degrading and offensive atmosphere for women employed in the public sector.

We also consider that there has been direct discrimination against women, with the statement "[a woman] probably has little intellectual development or knowledge accumulation in terms of training", as well as multiple discrimination (one could even say intersectional, according to Art. 2, para. (6)) by clearly focusing on gender (female) and age ("lady").

Such generalisations discredit the efforts, professional training, intellectual capacity and work ethic of all women working in the public sector, perpetuating sexist stereotypes and promoting misogynistic aberrations that should be severely sanctioned in a democratic state. Gender equality and equal opportunities suffer on a daily basis in Romania without promptly applied penalties to discourage such misogynistic comments and attitudes.

We call on the CNCD to find the act of discrimination and sanction Rareș Bogdan for discriminating against young women employed in the public sector.

The petition is done during 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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