The Coalition of Women
Business Associations (CAFA) in Romania was officially
launched in January 2004 and comprising nine founding
member organizations who wanted to become an important
partner in the decision making process concerning
the business environment.
CAFA is an informal
coalition with no president or officers and with a
three-leveled membership system: founding members
(the nine task force representatives), full members
(any women business association that would like to
join), and supporters (women associations that have
a business program or agenda).
CAFA has now 19 members
which indicates that Romanian businesswomen are beginning
to understand the importance of their role in the
business and political arenas and how combining their
efforts has a greater impact on local and central
governments. The Coalition does not replace the particular
activities of association members, but instead gets
involved in major initiatives and events that require
grassroots support such as public hearings, public
debates, legislative proposals, amendments, and participation
in governmental dialogues.
CIPE and CAFA organized
a public debate on salary taxes with sponsorship from
the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania and
Bucharest Municipality (CCIRB). More than 60 participants
attended the event: CAFA members, other business associations
(representing tourism and ITC sectors, as well as
chambers of commerce), media representatives, Romanian
Government delegates (Ministry of Finance, Ministry
of Labor, National Agency of SME’s), Parliament representatives,
as well as representatives of the Institute for Finance
and Monetary Research which is part of the Romanian
Academy. Prior to the event, CIPE and CAFA put together
a draft comprehensive study on salary taxes and the
Romanian Social Insurance System to assess the impact
of future legislation: the amendments to the Fiscal
Code that will come into force at the beginning of
2005, and the new employment systems within the new
Labor Code. Participants’ opinions were included in
a final document and forwarded for analysis to the
relevant Ministries per the request of their representatives
present at the event.
With CIPE’s support
over the last nine months, CAFA is seen now seen as
a genuine representative of the community of women
entrepreneurs and leaders in Romania. The following
international organizations included CAFA in their
network: International Association of Professional
and Business Women in Bulgaria, Federation of Association
for Women Entrepreneurs Tanzania, and National Women's
Business Council (USA). The United Nation’s Development
Program – Romania office and CAFA have also established
a partnership. As a result, CAFA has been invited
to participate in UNDP conferences and seminars, received
information about business and training opportunities,
newsletters, studies, and reports concerning gender
CAFA has gained international
recognition being represented by its members in international
conferences and training events, such as: The Mediterranean
Forum for Business Women, February, 2004, Barcelona,
Spain; Accelerating Women Entrepreneurship Forum,
June 4 – 7, 2004, Istanbul, Turkey; Business Women
Training - "Business Management and Ownership Issues
for Women Entrepreneurs", June 5-26, 2004, USA; International
Forum “Competitiveness through public-private partnership:
success stories and lessons learned”, September 26-28,
During the past year,
CIPE and CAFA organized workshops on strategic planning,
advocacy, public image, members’ involvement, and
the third and the fourth edition of the Women in Business
Conference. Over 150 women benefited from these trainings.
By acquiring corporate & association sponsors CAFA
proves that it can function as a self-sustained entity
in the future.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
- CAFA supports
the development of entrepreneurial spirit of women
who want to start a business.
- CAFA shall
promote women in management positions, in government,
public offices, administration and politics through
lobby and advocacy activities.
- CAFA aims
at contributing to the improvement of the business
environment in Romania.
- CAFA will
establish partnerships with other Romanian and international
associations or business support organizations.
PRINCIPLES OF ACTION
1. Equal Chances
2. Corporate Citizenship
- The Coalition
supports the interests of the business community
based on the principle of equal chances.
in the public-private partnership. It is necessary
to build the image of the Coalition as a strong
supporter of the business environment so that
the associations' members should be consulted
and considered as a partner for dialogue, along
with other associations.
- Annual awards
for personalities who observe this principle.
Partnership with the media.
- Lobby and advocacy
activities during the election campaigns in
order to contribute to an increased number of
women in local government.
- To increase the
Corporate Citizenship of companies run by women.
- To allocate existing
funds for sponsorships for such projects rather
than for other types of events (like sports
- To amend the
Law on Sponsorship.
- The association
members shall be in charge with the Coalition
secretariat for a year on a rotation basis;
- The association
in charge with the secretariat shall designate
one of its members to be responsible for ensuring
communication with the Coalition members;
- The association
that is in charge with the secretariat shall cover
all communication expenses (internet, fax, postage).
- There will be a
mailing list so that any proposal from an association
regarding the development of new programs shall
reach automatically all the Coalition members;
Each association has the right
to decide who will represent it at the Coalition
meetings and events on its behalf, depending on
the topic and objectives. Members shall designate
the Coalition representative by mutual agreement,
depending on the nature of the event.
Coalition does not replace through its actions the
particular activities of the associations; the associations
shall carry out their specific programs. The Coalition
shall get involved in major initiatives and events
that require grassroots support (like public hearings,
legislative proposals, participation in dialogue
with government and trade unions and so on).
Principle of Simple Majority:The
Coalition shall work based on the principle of simple
CODE OF CONDUCT
Membership in the Coalition is open
to the associations which apply in writing and which
undertake to uphold the Coalition's Code of Conduct.
Depending on the type of the association
that applies for membership, the founding members
and the full members or supporting members of the
Coalition will give an answer to the association's
The applying association must provide
proof of its activities (submitting the activity report
for the current year), the list of its members, its
by-laws and its constitutive documents.
Coalition members may ask the applying
association to take part in an interview in order
to present the association's activity, as well as
to allow participation in one of its own meetings
and checking of its references.
Acceptance of a new association in the
Coalition shall be made by direct vote, with a simple
majority, founding members being entitled to 3 votes,
full members to 2 votes and supporting members to
1 vote. In case of deadlock, the arguments for and
against membership shall be debated again so that
a majority decision may be reached.
2. Working principles
The Coalition has three membership
- Founding members: the associations
which, together with CIPE, laid the foundation
of the Coalition
- Full members: women business associations
- Supporting members: women associations,
which also have programs intended to support business,
but as a secondary concern, their main purpose
being social, cultural, educational, etc.
- All CAFA members
are entitled to information about the programs
and activities of the Coalition. Furthermore,
the business opportunities, scholarships, events
or international programs, etc., that are sent
to the Coalition shall be forwarded in due time
to all CAFA members.
- The legislative
agenda is drafted by founding members jointly
with full members; the supporting members are
to be subsequently informed of the points on the
- Participation in
programs and events is open to Coalition members.
The number of participants from every association
shall be established depending on the actual event,
organizer and sponsor.
- Every association
member of the Coalition is entitled to be elected
in order to represent the Coalition in national
and international events. Nomination may be made
either by the other members, by CIPE, or by the
- Founding members
and full members are entitled to hold the Coalition
secretariat, by rotation, for a period of 1 year.
- Every Coalition
member is entitled to be mentioned on the Coalition's
web site, to have a link to its own web site,
thus being promoted with the support of the Coalition.
- Coalition members
are entitled to mention such affiliation in their
promotional materials, mentioning the category
they belong to as well as the CAFA logo and contact
- Depending on actual
interests, the Coalition may create partnerships
with other organizations or representatives of
- To participate
in the Coalition's activities, to undertake responsibilities
without requesting any material consideration
- Not to act against
the Coalition's objectives and principles.
- To promote the
Coalition in the community and in the events attended,
clearly stating the status of the association
inside the Coalition (founding member, full member
or supporting member).
Withdrawal/ exclusion from the
- Voluntary, at the
request of the relevant association;
- Following performance
of activities which are harmful to the interests
or the image of the Coalition (this shall be decided
upon by a majority of the votes of the Coalition's
- Following performance
of voluntary criminal actions by the head of an
association, in case such person is maintained
in that position.
The Secretariat of the Coalition
- By rotation, every
founding member association and full member association
is entitled to hold the Coalition Secretariat
for a term of 1 year.
- The association
holding the Secretariat shall appoint a person
in charge of such position and such person shall
be responsible for answering to the requests,
questions, etc., of Coalition members, the press,
- Due to the fact
that holding the Secretariat implies organizational
capacity and additional expenses, it shall constitute
a right and not an obligation. The association
undertaking such responsibility shall ascertain
and satisfy the other members that it possesses
the capacity required to support such activity
during one year, both from an organizational point
of view and from a financial one.
- In this position,
the relevant association shall be responsible
for coordinating the Coalition's activity during
that year, for operating as the Coalition's communications
hub, receiving and sending information, proposals,
invitations, etc., to all members.
- The Coalition Secretariat
shall be responsible for updating the Coalition's
web site and preparing the newsletters (electronic
or printed, as decided by the Coalition members).
- In all activities
under its coordination, the Secretariat shall
seek the involvement and support of the other
members of the Coalition, its mission being one
of coordination and not one of implementation.
- At the end of every
year, Coalition members shall elect the association
that shall hold the Secretariat during the following