Romanian women in politics


On a yearly basis, there is published a statistics regarding women’s representation in politics (Parliament, Government), at an international level –

No surprise, Romania ranks among the last.

Things can change in the near future. A new beginning is marked by a woman being elected as Bucharest Mayor. If she will manage to deliver results as Mayor, Gabriela Firea will gain not only the trust of the electorate, but also of the women who want to get more involved in politics of public administration. Moreover, Hillary Clinton’s potential victory in the US will totally change the perception of women in politics. At the same time, in Europe, there will be competition between Great Britain and Germany. It is no coincidence that the British appointed a woman as PM, Theresa May, aiming to reduce the influence of Chancellor Angela Merkel, following the boost received following Brexit.

In the past years, the image of the Romanian politician-woman gained negative attributes as it gravitated around Elena Udrea. Unfortunately, there are few women who managed to maintain their careers in politics, increasing their profile. One of the communications & image mistakes made by these women regards the promotion of an incomplete profile/ unidirectional profile. There is an oscillation between the ,,fashion profile” and the ,,man attitude”. Few women in Romanian politics managed or manage to develop, starting from their defining personality feature/ quality (profession, passion for social/ community involvement), a ,,human” profile, full of personality by adding up some other elements (family, hobbies etc).

For example, Carmen Iohannis who fails to become an inspirational model, in any direction, for the Romanian women, active in politics or not. We do not know who is to blame for this – the lack of action or the poor communication model. Anyway, both should be a ,,must” for a First Lady.

Returning to the political ,,star” of these past months, Gabriela Firea has not exploited to the maximum the image capital gained during the campaign and imposed herself some kind of break. Of course, this is due to the recommendation, or better said at the threat, of the PSD president who already sees her as a threat within the party. Failing in terms of increasing the political capital by speculating a potential candidacy for the Romanian Presidency, Firea concentrates on the personal angles, but not in the most suitable manner – a very egocentric way. It is true that Romanians enjoy seeing what the stars are eating or how they decorate their houses, but this direction should not be pursued unless you are really eager to gain notoriety on short term and at any cost. The risk is becoming ridiculous and gain coverage on emotional topics that are difficult to control. Instead of images from home, with paintings portraying her and her husband, being close to people and concrete results will generate ,,power” and a permanent presence on the public agenda for Gabriela Firea.

She was also affected by the scandal with the ALDE vice-mayor, but she should not have taken a vacation in order to dissociate her image from the whole situation. It is a step back. Everyone understands the political reasoning, but lack of reaction means compromise. It would have been better for her to participate in several public activities across Bucharest, in order to remain close to the citizens.

Bottom line, the post-electoral campaign was badly managed. Maybe things will change and she will communicate more in the next period of time. The success or the failure of the first Bucharest woman Mayor is an essential factor for the women’s evolution in Romanian politics.