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Gender equality refers to the equality between women and men in terms of rights, treatment, responsibilities, and their economic and social opportunities and outcomes
Gender equality refers to the equality between women and men in terms of rights, treatment, responsibilities, and their economic and social opportunities and outcomes. Equality exists when men and women have the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in all societal sectors, and when the various interests, needs, and priorities of men and women are evaluated equally. Brussels defines gender equality as one of its core values, a fundamental right, an essential component of economic growth, and a fundamental principle of the European pillar of equal rights. However, in spite of progress that has been made, inequalities between men and women in the workplace, in work placement, in terms of quality of life, still persists over 20 years since the turn of the century. According to a common declaration of over 20 embassies in Bucharest and the EC representative office in Romania, what is essential in achieving gender equality is assuring women's full, equal, effective, and significant participation in private and public life, including political representation and the management level of decision making. Also, the signatories emphasize that women and girls have a right to a violence and discrimination free life.
The European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli of Malta, speaking in Bucharest, said that the progress made in terms of gender equality in the EU are still at a low level and uneven, in spite of visible signs of change. She added that the EC is working to build a Europe in which women and girls can prosper and can lead on an equal footing with men, without hindrance. She spoke about women's economic and financial independence, and about the tools for balancing personal and work life. In Romania, 46% of women, as opposed to 25% of men, are caretakers for children, aging persons, or people with disabilities within the family. The situation is far from balanced in terms of gender representation in politics. Women are not represented properly in national parliaments and governments, including in Romania, and this is not beneficial for democracy, as the commissioner stated. Another discrimination issue is the pay gap, as women are generally paid less than men. Gender equality was an issue tackled for Radio Romania by Professor Andreea Paul. The professor said that women want equal rights, women want to be competitive as individuals in the political, social, administrative, educational, and economic system, and that she believes that Romania can be a much stronger nation if it granted these equal rights to men and women alike in decision making roles. She spoke about equal treatment, responsibilities, equal pay, and equal opportunities:
“In terms of the pay gap, Romania leads in the EU, with the smallest of pay gaps, and I think this is good news. In the rest of the union, things are more complicated. That is because, out of inertia, we had an education system that facilitated high education and gaining high end skills among women and girls. So that would be the good news. But what we are not managing to yet capitalize on are these competencies gained in higher education in public decision making. In terms of private decision making, again, things are much better, but not regarding the boards of big scale companies. There is a recent government decision to propose a minimum quota of 30% for the boards of companies listed on the stock exchange. In other words, to have no less than 30% of these boards be either men or women. However, at the grassroots, in the real economy, things stand as you know. We are far from this percentage of representation.”
We are also two decades behind other European countries in terms of quality of life, and one of the channels by which this was achieved was gender equality, according to Andreea Paul. She said that we are just starting to talk about a 30% quota, but this decision was made in developed countries around the world 20 or 30 years ago.
“This is the kind of gap in mentalities that we have to overcome. Of course, we have the exponential changes of our times, in terms of digital advances. Women's voices are much more clearly heard, which leads to a compression of history, so we don't have to wait for another 30 years to balance things out. But we have more reading to do, and to better understand perspectives, and talk with more confidence about gender equality. We should respect feminists, because I think the term has gained a negative connotation. In reality, we should thank all the feminists who have allowed our access to the vote for today's women. This happened in less than a century, we have access to any job we want, to any university and doctoral program. We also have access to public office, we have the right to equal pay, and many others, and that is, in fact, thanks to the activism of the much maligned feminists over the last few decades.”
In spite of this, Andreea Paul said, the result of their labors makes life today more just and dignified.
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