Workplace equity

Romanian women excel in tech partly because of country’s communist past

Romanian children wearing communist era "pioneers" outfits. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1989, Communism ended after 43 years in Romania, a brutal period that witnessed food shortages, an unchecked secret police force, and genocide, but also a push toward gender equality that contributed to a prevalence of modern Romanian women populating the workforce. In 1970, 75 percent of employable Romanian women had a job, according to the country’s Annual Statistical Bulletin. The country’s 1948 constitution said women and men should be paid equally in the same job, a declaration that led to what was then a popular Romanian catchphrase: “Equal work, equal pay.” In those days, says Alina Hurubean, an author with a PhD in Political Sciences from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, “It was a mandatory for a person to have a job. There were laws that punished those who didn’t work.”

Today, Romania has the highest proportion of girls studying IT related fields in Europe at 13 percent — compared to 1.12 percent of women in the U.K., 0.58 percent in Germany, and 0.68 percent in France. Those rates translate to the workplace as well, where Romanian women make up about a third of tech jobs, according to Brainspotting — a recruiting agency focused on the field. In the US, the National Center for Women and Information Technology estimates, women made up just 25 percent of “professional computing occupations” in 2015.

Read the full story at Motherboard.

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