The Women's Movement Essay

2496 words - 10 pages

The women’s movement had been characterized by women's wish to acquire equal legal status to men by obtaining civil and political rights recorded in the Constitution and legislation. In Romania, the first wave of the feminist movement had been held simultaneously with the women’s movement in West, and it had been a movement of the elite, educated women with access to international information. An important period of this movement was before the establishment of the Romanian Constitution in 1923. It was the most democratic Constitution and women started an intense activity of lobbying for their rights until 1947. Between 1947 and 1989 Romania was pushed under Soviet influence by the Red ...view middle of the document...

As a mother women had lost their legal civil rights in family planning. An article by Nicolaescu (1994) showed that pro-natality policies during 60s, 70s and 80s used women as ‘demographic bodies’ because the totalitarian regime controlled women’s reproductive lives. Through pro-natality policies, the Communist regime had the aim of rising the birthrate using women’s bodies, respectively to increase the population of Romania. Women had lost their rights in family planning, and were forced to become mothers without their consent. The situation became insupportable for women particularly in 1986, when women were pressed to have children by law, and the Communist Party had introduced a target of five children per family. Although the socialist discourses promoted the equality between genders, women had been subject to financial and legal pressure in the world of payed work. Furthermore, it was a structural discrimination in the labour market under socialism because women had held less skilled and low-wage jobs, and less occupational opportunities. This has been contributed considerably to the increased number of women working only in labour intensive industries, and sectors such as education, finance and health had been feminized.

Another cause of the women’s movement was the lack of their political rights. For the first time in 1929 Romanian women got the right to vote as a result of Princess Cantacuzino’s activity. In a discourse Stefoi (2004) stated that she integrated women from Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, Greece and Czechoslovakia in the organisation called the Little Entente of Women, and Princess Cantacuzino participated in the Rome Congress of the International Suffrage Alliance in 1923. Moreover, she represented the International Council of Women at the League of Nations between 1927-1933. According to Cheschebec (cited Hering, S. & Waaldijk, B 2003) Princess Cantacuzino ‘dedicated most of her life to activities that she believed would operate a ‘spiritual revival’ of the nation, and to the vindication of women’s rights from a ‘maternalist’ perspective’ in cooperation with national and international organizations. Due to her activity, the feminine movement in Romania had been included within the international movement. However, women voted in condition of free election in 1990, because installing of Communism in Romania led to annihilation of feminism. Although under the Red curtain Romania was a patriarchal society, the Communist Party required a 30% presence of women in governmental positions. In reality, women were absent from the political scene and a recent article (Oprica,2007) suggested the only feminine presence on political life was the communist dictator’s wife with equal decisional and political power as the dictator. This has contributed to the absence of women’s presence in political life and their participation in the decision-making processes.
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