Romanian civil society organizations forming The Network for the Prevention and Combat of Violence against Women (V.I.F. Network) and The Coalition for Gender Equality created a voluntary national report in order to provide an independent account of the government's progress in achieving three key Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets: Target 3 (healthcare and well-being), Target 4 (education and inclusivity), and Target 5 (gender equality and empowerment).
Contributions to the development of the shadow report have been done by the entire team at FILIA Center, with the support of Carmen Radu - Front Association, Irina Ilisei - Plural Association, Irina Mateescu - Association of Independent Midwives, Carmen Gheorghe - E-Romnja Association.
The findings and recommendations presented in the report are summarized as follows:
Target 3.3 Reduce the prevalence of maternal and infantile mortality and the incidence of breast and cervical cancer, and teenage pregnancies, with the primary focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups
Women encounter many barriers in accessing their sexual and reproductive rights: the majority of the public hospitals no longer offer the option of abortion on request while the anti-abortion organizations have become increasingly prominent in the public sphere in recent years; the access to free contraception is not guaranteed by the state in order to limit unplanned pregnancies (especially teenage pregnancies); HPV free vaccination programme is not efficient, because of the lack of training for family doctors and lack of communication campaigns for the large population; the screening programme for detecting cervical cancer is not properly budgeted whereas there is no screening programme for detecting breast cancer. There is a high infantile mortality rate in poor segregated Roma communities due to living conditions, lack of basic products needed for the babies and lack of access to medical care and post-natal healthcare support.
(a) Improvement of data collection system in the URHR and broaden it to the private health sector.
(b) The vitalization of the family planning network.
(c) Raise awareness among the female population regarding the importance of screening and vaccination in preventing cancer, but also to properly budget it.
(d) Ensure healthcare professionals working in the most underprivileged communities that would monitor the pregnant women, the babies and
provide guidance and basic care.
Target 4.4 Emphasize the role played in the educational process by civic education, by the principles and notions relating to a peaceful and inclusive sustainable society, the values of democracy and pluralism, the values of multiculturalism, the prevention of discrimination and an understanding of the point of view of the “other”, and the importance of eradicating violence with a focus on the phenomenon of violence in schools and gender equality.
Romania has witnessed conservative voices and groups advocating for the removal of gender-related topics from schools. These voices argue against discussing topics related to gender identity, gender roles, gender violence and LGBTQ+ issues within the educational system; Sexual education in schools has also been a topic of debate and has faced challenges for years. Sexual education in Romanian schools is not comprehensive, is not available for every child, but only offered as an optional and accessed in less than 5% of the schools, and lacks standardized curriculum or guidelines. Also access to sexual education in school is conditioned by parents consent which brings an important limitation.
(1) comprehensive teacher training for both raising awareness and providing them more inclusive pedagogical and gender sensitive pedagogical tools,
(2) evidence-based curriculum development that is inclusive from a gender perspective,
(3) developing and implementing active policies for raising awareness monitor and addressing gender based violence in schools - by creating guidelines at national levels and commission at school level
(4) develop policies to ensure that sexual education in Romanian schools addresses the holistic needs of students, including their sexual and reproductive health, relationships, rights and prevention of .abuse (5) access to sexual education is a child's right and should not be conditioned by parents consent
Target 5.1 (Continue to reduce the gender pay gap)
Economic gender inequalities are the biggest in Europe. One category dominated by women is that of unpaid family workers and women occupy feminized branches which are paid less than male-dominated ones. During the pandemic women faced an increasing burden of care that translated into lower access in the labor market and increased economic vulnerability.
The Government must address through specific policies the problem of the scarcity of public creches and kindergartens and insufficient funding in the area of public care.
Target 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in both the public and private sphere, including trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other forms of exploitation
(1) There is a high prevalence of intersectional violence against Roma women and girls caused both by patriarchal rooted systems and institutional racism. (2) Romanian Police doesn’t collect disaggregated data regarding sexual violence or any other gender based violence crimes outside family relationships, even though these crimes are highly present in Romanian society. (3) The budgeting for survivors of GBV are provided through projects funded by European funds. Regarding Romanian’s Government target for 2020, to organize informative campaigns regarding preventing and combating sexual abuse, there have not been such campaigns, nor other national campaigns on gender based violence.
(a) Professionals working with survivors of GBV should be continuously trained in order to offer real and coordinated support for victims, to deconstruct their own racist, classist and sexist prejudices and to understand the dynamics of sexual and GBV;
(b) Collecting disaggregated data regarding all forms of GBV for providing a better understanding of the phenomenon in order to improve the current legislation and adopt new policies in this field;
(c) Local and central authorities should allocate adequate funds and continuous financial support for services for survivors of DV in order to ensure access for adult-victims of GBV;
(d) Train professionals that have good access to large population (educational system and healthcare) to recognise GBV, provide prevention and address it, as well as providing methodology at institutional level in addressing GBV.
Target 5.3 Ensure the full and effective participation and equal opportunities of women when it comes to employment in management positions at all levels of political, economic and public life
Women’s political representation remains of the most urgent concerns. A study by FES Romania1 is showing the lack of gender awareness, small percentages of women in executive positions, small chances of being granted eligible positions, a highly misogynistic party culture, patriarchal gender roles and stereotypes. Also, the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2022 puts Romania on the worst ranking in Europe, together with Greece and Cyprus. The overall gender gap score is placing Romania 90th out of 146 countries. The areas that need improvements are economic participation of women (rank 63) and political empowerment (rank 122).
(a) mandatory gender quotas in electoral legislation is required and the political parties should be encouraged through different methods to adopt quotas.
(b) the revision of the legal frame and the inclusion of more specific details regarding the implementation of equal chances in the electoral process and sanctions if not done.
(c) more systematized data collection on women’s political representation.
(d) awareness campaigns regarding the importance of political representation for women, encouraging women’s active citizenship and explaining notions like quotas or glass ceiling would improve the political representation of women
(e) mandatory responsible person for equality between men and women in public institutions with more than 50 employees.