Could you please introduce yourself?

I am agraduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the Lower Danube University in Galati, and starting with the year 2023 a doctorate in management. I have been working at the Danubius University in Galati since 2017, over time having different roles. Currently, I am the director of the Center for Continuous Training and Technological Information and research assistant in the project “Deployment and Assessment of Predictive modeling, environmentally sustainable and emerging digital technologies and tools for improving the resilience of IWW against Climate change and other extremes (PLOTO) financed by “HORIZON-CL5-2021-D6-01-09 – Climate resilient and environmentally sustainable transport infrastructure, with a focus on inland waterways”.

I met the world of clusters 10 years ago, when together with Mr. Voicu Costica (founder of the Lower Danube Health Innovation cluster), and with the support of the Danubius University in Galati, we laid the foundations of the first clusters in Galati County, namely: Romanian River Transport Cluster, IT&C Cluster Lower Danube, Green Solutions Low Danube Cluster as well as the Cluster Innovative For Health Lower Danube.

Could you describe your organization in a few words?

Danubius University in Galati is a member and an active promoter of the clusters in the South-East Region of Romania and is recognized in the space between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea as an international university of excellence, an open and stimulating environment for personal and entrepreneurial development, as well as for the constant exchange of ideas and values. It is a university founded 31 years ago, which currently includes 4 faculties: the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration, the Faculty of Communication and International Relations, the Faculty of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, with 10 undergraduate programs and 9 graduate programs masters.

At the same time, we are the first university in the country with a rector of American origin, Dr. Steve O. Michael, international expert in the field of higher education, with a proven management history at Kent State University, Arcadia University and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science .

Could you please give some facts and figures or a description of the status-quo related to the gender equality situation in your sector/ecosystem or region/country? What are the challenges encountered?

The personnel policy of the Danubius University in Galati supports gender equality, thus in top management positions there are 35% women and 65% men, in middle management positions there are 85% women and 15% men, and the total employees consists of 51% women and 49% men.

Could you please indicate what levers you see to address these challenges or to improve the situation you just described? Where do you see clusters playing a role in the process?

The existing clusters at the level of the South-East region are active promoters of events through which gender equality policies are disseminated.

In the year 2022, the Danubius University in Galati, laid the foundations of a project, Phenomenal Women Series, which over the course of four months capitalized on the collective wisdom, experience and energy of women of different ages and qualifications, emphasizing, at the same time, the importance of supporting the community and of involvement in its life, the country and the whole world. The participants of this event reached the highest professional heights and achieved enviable results in their careers, becoming an example in their fields of activity.

Another remarkable event took place at the end of March 2023. The students of the Leo Danubius Club and the GirlUp Association, together with the Student Services Department of the Danubius University in Galați, organized the first edition of the Empowering Women Conference, with the theme “Abuse and the way in which women face it”. The event was a real success, so the organizers propose to hold a new edition by the end of this year.

Do you or other entities of your ecosystem face recruitment difficulties? Would you say that gender equality offers a solution to overcome these difficulties and why?

At the level of the ecosystem in which we operate, we have not encountered any difficulties in recruitment. Danubius University in Galati supports gender equality, and this fact is reflected both in the staff recruitment policy and in the student admission policy.

Do you think that your organization / companies of your cluster / sector / ecosystem, region are aware of gender equality rules? If so, do they know how to comply with these rules? What could be helpful (trainings, webinars, reference person in the company, etc)?

Both our organization and the other entities that are part of the clusters in the region are aware of the gender equality policies as well as the related rules. Through the activities organized we were able to ensure an efficient communication channel with different categories of stakeholders.

We believe that this information, organized in various forms, such as workshops, round tables, should take place frequently, and the clusters, due to the fact that they have integrated the rules of gender equality into their own policy, are considered the main promoters.

Would you say working on gender mainstreaming can bring solutions to other challenges you observe (retaining female HR in organisations by addressing issues such as equality in wages, work-life balance, fight against sexist acts, populating rural areas, etc)

Certainly. Over time, the rise of women has been observed in increasingly diversified areas of activity, some of them considered years ago to be exclusively male professions. This rise has been made possible by demonstrating the ability to maintain a positive balance between personal and professional life.

Could you please describe why gender equality is important for you personally and/or for your organization?

It has been observed that when the work teams are made up of both female and male persons, in a balanced number, the solutions identified in solving the challenges are much more creative.

How would you describe the added value brought by a woman leading an organisation? What are your challenges/ opportunities being a woman manager?

From my point of view, the advantage of being a woman at the head of an entity/structure consists in the ability to adapt to new situations in a very short time, the orientation towards creative solutions, as well as maintaining a positive climate within the said entity/structure.

What would be your closing word? Your main message on advancing gender equality approaches in companies/clusters/public authorities/governments?

The struggle for the integration of gender equality, from the women’s side, began many years ago, and history shows us their successes, as well as the positive impact they had on the whole society. Through this message, I want to convey to all categories/groups of people who feel discriminated to be united and never stop fighting for their rights.