Gender Equality in Romania

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Flag of Romania
Population (in Mil.) 20.06
Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 169.40
Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.95
Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.098591549
Fertility Rate 1.29
Estimated Earned Income (f/m) 0.69
Tertiary Enrolment Ratio (f/m) 63.8
Women in Parliament (in %) 13.3
Human Development Index 56/187
Social Institutions and Gender Index /86
Gender Inequality Index 56/186
Gender Equity Index 49/168
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 43/128
Global Gender Gap Index /68
More information on variables


Social Institutions

The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) measures gender-based discrimination in social norms, practices and laws across 160 countries. The SIGI comprises country profiles, a classification of countries and a database; it serves as a research, policy and advocacy tool for the development community and policy makers.

The SIGI covers five dimensions of discriminatory social institutions, spanning major socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. The SIGI’s variables quantify discriminatory social institutions such as unequal inheritance rights, early marriage, violence against women, and unequal land and property rights.

In the 2014 edition of the SIGI, Romania has low levels of discrimination against women in social institutions. It has lower discrimination in restricted access to resources and assets and higher discrimination in restricted civil liberties. Read the full country profile and access the data here:


In Romania, the life expectancy at birth is 73 years for both sexes, females have a higher life expectancy average rate with 77 years, whereas men can expect an average of 70 years. Thus, men and women have a higher life expectancy compared to the global average of 66 years for men and 71 years for women. The adult mortality rate (per 1000 adults between 15-59 years) with 156 is lower in comparison to the global average of 176. The maternal mortality ratio is measured with 27 deaths per 100000 live births, which is low when considering the global average of 260 deaths. The under-5 mortality rate has decreased from 1990 till today, although it was never high, and nowadays it is stated as 12 deaths per 1000 live births, which includes both sexes and is below the global average of 60 deaths. Prevalence of HIV occurs at only 1 case per 1000 adultus aged from 15-49 years, which is far below the average of 8 cases globally. The prevalence of tuberculosis is also lower with 168 cases per 100000 population, than the global average with 201 cases. Tobacco smoking shows a moderate contrast between the genders; 45,5% of 15+ years old men are regular smokers, but only 24,1% of women smoke regularly. Not such a large contrast however throughout the percentages of obesity; 16,3% of the male adult 20+ population and 19,0% of females are considered to suffer from obesity[1].



Political Empowerment and Participation

Only 11.2 % of Parliamentary seats are held by women, while few women have been served in the cabinet in the past. Most women elected to the lower chamber were members of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL) and the National Liberal Party (PNL). An extreme right party, the Greater Romanian Party (PRM), also promoted women, both in their party’s leadership structure and as candidates for parliament.
In the upper chamber, the Senate, the percentage of women elected to office stayed in the single digits, albeit it increased from 1% in 1990 to 9% in 2004, and then decreased again to 6% in 2008.
Women are underrepresented at the executive level of government as well. In the 1990s, no woman was appointed to the ministerial cabinet. Starting with the year 2000, women appointed to head a ministry were typically in charge of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Family and Social Protection, or the Ministry of Youth, all ministries corresponding to professional categories traditionally associated with women. Two women also headed the Ministry of Justice and the Ministries of Tourism and the Environment. Several women served in lower ranking posts within the cabinet, mostly as secretaries of state (vice-ministers), typically in the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry.

Gender Equality Legislation

Gender equality was not one of the top priorities of Romanian politicians after 1989. In 1997, the Romanian Parliament decided to create a sub-committee for the equality of opportunity for men and women. Soon after its creation, however, the sub-committee ceased any activity. It was reactivated in the year 2000, with a membership of five legislators: three men and two women. Since 2004 the sub-committee has been headed by a woman: Cristina Pocora (PDL). The subcommittee, along with members of regional and national non-governmental organizations helped draft the “Law for Equality of Opportunity among Men and Women”, Law 202, which was passed in 2002.
This document outlawed gender-based discrimination and incriminated domestic violence and it emphasized equal access to education, health services, cultural activities, as well as the principle of equal pay for equal work. The law is very vague, however, when it comes to promoting women’s role in public decision-making. Chapter four, articles 21 and 22, emphasize the need for “equal participation” of women and men in decision-making, be it within local, regional or national institutions, non-governmental institutions or political parties.

Electoral Quotas for Women

The Romanian legislation does not provide for electoral quotas, or electoral parity. However some political parties, especially on the left of the political spectrum have come up with such quotas on their own accord and have widely publicized them in the early 2000s. None of the three parties that had announced these self-imposed party quotas (PSD, PD, PNL), met their own goal. By the time the 2008 elections took place, gender quotas were no longer mentioned in the manifestos or political programs of any major Romanian party.

The Women, Business and the Law

Where are laws equal for men and women? 

The Women, Business and the Law report presents indicators based on laws and regulations affecting women's prospects as entrepreneurs and employees. Several of these indicators draw on the Gender Law Library, a collection of over 2,000 legal provisions impacting women's economic status. This report does not seek to judge or rank countries, but to provide information to inform discussions about women’s economic rights. Women, Business and the Law provides data covering 6 areas: accessing institutions,using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Read more about the methodology.

For detailed information on Romania, please visit the Women, Business and
the Law Romania


The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database

FAO logo.jpg

The FAO Gender and Land Rights Database contains country level information on social, economic, political and cultural issues related to the gender inequalities embedded in those rights. Disparity on land access is one of the major causes for social and gender inequalities in rural areas, and it jeopardizes, as a consequence, rural food security as well as the wellbeing of individuals and families.

Six categories

The Database offers information on the 6 following Categories:

  • National legal frame
  • International treaties and conventions
  • Customary law 
  • Land tenure and related Institutions
  • Civil society organizations
  • Selected Land Related Statistics

For detailed information on Romania, please visit the report on Romania in the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database.

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