Over the past 50 years, the legal status of women has improved in Romania, as it has the world over. Despite this progress, however, many challenges in addressing the vulnerabilities of women as a social group still persist. In response to this situation, the World Bank Group (WBG) has made gender equality one of the key challenges to tackle in Romania
According to the recent Women, Business and the Law 2014: Removing Restrictions to Enhance Gender Equality report, many laws still make it difficult for women to fully participate in economic life in Romania – including increased difficulty in getting a job or starting a business. The Report, a joint IFC-World Bank report that measures how laws, regulations and institutions differentiate between women and men in ways that may affect women’s incentives or capacity to work or to set up and run a business, finds that discriminatory rules in the country bar women from certain jobs, restrict access to capital for women-owned firms and limit women’s capacity to make legal decisions.
Facing the Challenge
Unfortunately, these challenges are not confined to the area of law alone. The barriers to linking women to economic opportunities highlighted by this report are similarly reflected in other areas of the country as well. Overall, Romania ranks just in the middle of the countries assessed for gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Index and for the Gender Empowerment Measure by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). Both of these resources recognize the progress that Romania has made over the last several decades, while simultaneously highlighting the work that still needs to be done
In order to address these challenges, the World Bank Group in Romania has identified key areas of engagement that can cut across the three pillars of engagement in the forthcoming strategy for World Bank Group operations in Romania: creating a 21st century government, boosting growth and job creation, and increasing social inclusion. Within these pillars, the WBG will integrate gender through monitoring and evaluation frameworks, emphasize jobs that boost productivity and expand employment opportunities among women, and target gender analysis, actions, and monitoring that can improve social inclusion – especially among Roma women.