Meet Mihaela Miroiu from Romania
She has taught students for 42 years. She has marched in protests, helped with female rights legislation, and inspired the new generation of feminists.
Mihaela Miroiu is Romanian, a professor at the National School for Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. However, that is far from a full description of all her achievements and efforts. She is outspoken and strong, with a great sense of humour and a long history of introducing the topic of female rights into Romanian society. Prof Miroiu pioneered gender studies in Romanian academia and paved the way for feminism in this Eastern European country. She created the first class in Feminist Philosophy, introduced a class called Gender and Politics to the undergraduates at the National School for Political Studies and Public Administration. That decade culminated with the Master of Arts in Gender Studies in Romania, started in 1998. Prof Miroiu’s legacy also includes the first PhD program in political science.
The mindset of a large portion of society has changed and that is probably the main achievement of people like Prof Mihaela Miroiu. She remembers how in the 1990s people called here and other feminists “radical”, “crazy”, or “a social danger”. Yet everyone has come a long way and she mentions how ordinary public intellectuals now say that she is very reasonable, and they explain that they like her feminism, but that is after her first ten years of activism — the same things said in a different time sounded differently. “It is not about me. It is the way they are seeing women’s minds, they are respecting women’s ideas, their approach on politics”, she adds. This feminist laughs at how younger feminists now criticise her, as they see her as older and different from their own understanding.
“I am not their sister. I am the generation of their mothers. But I am very proud that we have reached a moment when diversity of opinion is very high and I am criticized by feminist themselves”, she smiles.
In the last few years, the professor has been active in protests and active on Facebook as well and she mentions that people wait for her reaction to any events on a political level. “People need models, even to contest them, to criticize them. But they need people who are standing up for their opinions and arguments and who are able to have a dialogue with”, Prof Miroiu concludes.