THE ECONOMIC STATUS OF WOMEN IN ROMANIA
Images of the Romanian revolution of 1989 are indelibly etched upon the Western memory-the slaughtered demonstrators of Timi oara; the disbelieving dictator, utterly confounded by defiance from the usually fawning Bucharest crowd; the courageous freedom fighters taking cover from withering loyalist fire with frightened soldiers in bullet scarred doorways; the executed dictatorial couple; and the dishevelled and bewildered coalition of anti-Ceau escu communists, army officers, intellectual dissidents, and aging survivors of the traditional political parties. Prominent among these conspirators were two women —the dissident poet Ana Blandiana and the Transylvanian human rights activist Doina Cornea. The presence of these two internationally known opponents of the ancien regime might have augured well for the role women would play in postcommunist Romania; but like so many of the acclaimed initial images of the ‘revolution’, this proved to be an empty symbol. Aware of being exploited, Cornea and Blandiana quickly and prudently distanced themselves from the National Salvation Front, leaving the new regime with even fewer leadership females than the old one. The absence of women from the politics of postcommunist Romania is symptomatic of the precarious status of women in general during the first four years of the transition.