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WhereI'veBeen&HowRomaniaisDoing

Sofia Scarlat
10mo Bucharest, Romania Story
Where I've Been & How Romania is Doing

Hi!

It's so great to finally be back on Mogul after such a long hiatus. I feel like this platform might've become my diary - but like, a really empowering diary that I share with other young girls and women, if that makes any sense.

I figure that some explaining is due, because I have been gone for quite some time, so that's exactly what I'm going to do in this post! Let's start at the beginning.

1. I went to the Mogul X conference!

If you were there, I was the small person frantically running around in a flowy jumpsuit, completely overwhelmed by everything that was happening to me. If you weren't there, well, you should be there next time.

In all honesty, going to the Mogul X conference was most definitely one of the highlights of my year. It took 15 hours of flying and a lot more outfit changes to get there, but it was all worth it, because not only did I get to meet and spend the day with my iconic birthday twin @alexakhazzam, who is also a president on this platform, but I also got to meet the incredible women who created the Mogul platform that we all know and love, and I got to hear the most motivating and inspiring speeches at all classes I went to. I don't think I've ever learnt so much in such a short amount of time, and I had fun doing it! As someone who's been enrolled in the Romanian educational system, that is not something I thought was possible haha.

Being in NYC also gave me the great opportunity to bond with my brother as we discovered that walking 5 blocks is NOT easy, but doable if there's a 1 dollar pizza place at the end.

2. I became one of the first ambassadors for the Girl2Leader campaign in Romania!

Kinda late, but Romania finally had its first Girl2Leader campaign, organized by the Women's Global Political Forum and independent Romanian MP Oana Bizgan. I got to be one of the 30 girls from across our country involved in the project and it was such an amazing experience! We had dinner at the Swedish Embassy, shadowed MP's in the Romanian Parliament, participated in workshops at the World Bank, debates with NGO members on active citizenship, watched the final vote in the Parliament and had a meeting with the President's Administration.

Our week could not have been more packed and I found myself up at 5 AM, only to come back home at 10 PM every single day -- but it's for a good cause, so sleep had to wait until the weekend. I learnt so much, especially from shadowing a female MP in the Romanian Parliament. While the political party she was involved with is quite controversial and not well liked in Romania (and for the right reasons..), I did try to keep an open mind and only take away the good lessons and good ideas from what she was able to tell me, which ended up being a great strategy. It's important to realize that not everyone in a party or administration is bad just because of the party they're in - some of them do good work, in the limits that they are given, and the MP I was able to spend time with was one of those people. Well intended, trying to create change from the inside. That to me is admirable, so I was glad to spend some time with her, even if it was only for a few hours.

3. I gave a speech to the European Parliament!

You read that right!!! I did thattt. Honestly it wasn't as big of a deal as the title makes it out to be, but it is still pretty great. At the end of the Girl2Leader campaign, there is always a live stream of sorts, kind of like a Skype call, with the European Parliament and all countries involved in the project. Each country has a participant represent that country and give a speech to the European Parliament and the other countries involved about why their country needs more female leaders, and for this first Girl2Leader campaign in Romania, I was chosen as the person to represent the country. So that's what I did. It was only a 2 minute speech and my hand and voice were shaking (I think I even managed to fit a voice crack in there somehow), but I've been told it turned out great, so I'm happy with it. And it's a very cool thing to say you did at 15.

I can't insert the video, but I can insert this photo of half of my face on a screen, somewhere in the European Parliament, as I was giving my speech.

6. I spoke on ELLE Romania's tv show about my girl empowerment organization (and on a few other tv stations)

I literally had the worst day prior to my *LIVE* interview - woke up stressed, nothing was working out, felt sick, missed the bus, called an Uber, the Uber driver literally drove past me, chased the Uber 5 streets down until he realized he needed to pick me up, finally got in the car and was on my way when an actual car crash happened right in front of us and we were stuck there for an hour, in the heat, without saying a word to each other, was late for my interview, stormed in covered in sweat and went live 10 seconds later. Even so, I managed to collect myself and speak all about my organization, what it does, how it does what it does and why it does what it does - and people seemed to really like it because when it was over I realized everyone in the office (they film the show in the same room as where journalists write their articles) was carefully listening and I got a few nice Facebook messages afterwards (which is as much warmth as you're going to get from a Romanian audience). Overall, pretty great! That covers it.

5. I got all nervous about the referendum

Ah, yes. If you hadn't heard, Romania decided that in our poor country, where rural area schools have backyard toilets, 30% of kids don't go to school and we have more churches than hospitals, it would be a fantastic idea to spend 40 million euros on a referendum that would redefine the term "family" in our constitution as being "the union between a man and a woman" (original version was gender neutral). Keep in kind, gay marriage isn't legal here, so there was literally no point to this initiative because no matter the result, gay marriage would still be illegal, however people went through with it as a.. slap in the face, maybe?

Now, Wikipedia and other sources will say that Romania is a 90% orthodox country (although I could say otherwise), and being gay was illegal here up until 2002, so when it was announced everyone already thought that it was going to pass. Within days there propaganda flyers all across the country, in every bus stop I went to, on every wall, on every poll, in every mailbox. Politicians got involved, even though they weren't technically allowed to. They extended the voting period to two days instead of one and lowered the necessary amount of votes for the motion to pass from 51% to 30% - literally anything to make sure that this went through. Stores stopped selling alcohol the entire voting weekend so people wouldn't get in fights at the polls.

On the other side, those against the motion began a widespread social media campaign called "Stau Acasa" (Romanian for "I'm staying at home), to notify people that if they were against it, they should not go out and vote. Yes, that's right, while the rest of the world is begging its people to vote we're doing the opposite. This is because the referendum needed 30% of the population to vote in order to go through (for and against votes, it doesn't matter) and we all knew that the majority of those votes were going to be for the motion, so the point was to stay at home instead of having your vote counted, because that could actually lead to it passing instead of failing. And people actually did.

There's about 20 million people in Romania, and only 1.5 million voted. It didn't pass. Family is gender neutral. My stress is gone. World peace is restored. Thank you.

6. I wrote this loooooong post

That's about it, I think. Way too much for two months, if you ask me. I need the rest of the year off to sleep, so I'm going to go do that, but before I do, thanks for tuning in and I will probably talk to you again in another 2 months (pls forgive me).

- Sofi


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16 year-old, Bucharest-born pattered sock enthusiast.

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