PWN Romania: Step forward for gender balance legislation

PWN Romania has made a step forward in its mission to advocate for gender balance legislation.

The global crisis generated by the pandemic has created new challenges in building prosperous and inclusive societies and economies. 

The gender imbalance that was already there has been asymmetrically amplified for men and women, although women were predominantly in the front lines and in essential sectors. This trend has reverberated at national level as well, therefore, coherent strategies are now necessary to recover the step backs and to maintain balance in the work force.

At global and European level, Romania has not improved its position in the gender equality charts in the last years and without encouragement, support, and role models in power positions it is unlikely progress will pick up the pace. According to a study PWN Romania conducted in partnership with Deloitte, in 2016, only 12% of the seats in Non-Executive Boards of blue-chip companies were women. While the situation is more encouraging in executive boards and top-executive level, where 20% of positions were occupied by women, there is still a broad space for improvement. At the same time, by comparison, according to a recent study published by Boston Consulting Group, Romania ranks first in terms of women in top management positions within the largest listed companies in EU countries, proving that the pipeline is there and that this is the perfect time to take advantage of it.

In consequence, PWN Romania will intensify its efforts on the Women on Boards pillar in the next year, launching the third edition of the Women on Boards Academy later this year – a comprehensive educational program for women who target non-executive board positions.

We will also begin a Women on Boards Mentoring Program this fall, with the goal to provide women with the proper one-on-one guidance and support they need to access board positions. And to better integrate our vision on the Women on Boards pillar, we are working on creating a database of qualified candidates for Board positions in a program called Board Ready Women Initiative, for which we are currently developing partnerships with well-known executive search firms.

PWN Romania at the Romania Government BuildingAs we prepared the PWN Romania strategy for the next year, we took a conscious step to strengthen our Women on Boards pillar and to pursue new avenues not just to raise awareness for the gender imbalance in leadership positions, but to accelerate the closing of the gap with legislative action. At the beginning of this month, PWN Romania met with the Senate Chairwoman, Mrs Anca Dragu, a long-time supporter of our association and a strong believer and promoter of gender equality.

Moreover, we are planning to update the Women on Boards study we conducted in 2016 with recent data that would provide an accurate and present-day representation of women’s presence in non-executive boards.

In addition, we are taking stock of the best practices and examples of other EU Member States that have adopted gender balance legislation in order to evaluate the potential impact of such an initiative on the Romanian society and the appropriate form in which we could introduce legislative action.

We are fully aware that without support from the current administration and from political decision-makers in general, our effort would not reach the 30% threshold that would ensure fair gender representation. That is why we decided to reach out and build a stronger bridge between civic society and lawmakers, even though this step forward has taken us well out of our comfort zone. However, we are confident in our undertaking, and we stay focused on the goals that await to be reached.



Author: Alina Cocuti, PWN Romania
Editor: Rebecca Fountain, Marketing Consultant, PWN Global
Date: July 2021

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