TEDxEroilor in Cluj-Napoca, Romania is a TEDx event going into its sixth year. This winter, they decided that they didn’t want conversations around big ideas to stop after their once-a-year main event, so they opted to try something new — TEDx Salon events — small hyper-focused events centered on one theme. Their first Salon was themed “Borders vs. Barriers,” focusing on the European refugee crisis, and was held in a paintbrush factory turned arts center in the city.
For their second Salon, the team at TEDxEroilor wanted to design an event to honor International Women’s Day 2016 — with its theme of “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Their solution? An event themed “50/50 Wo/Men” held at Cluj-Napoca’s newly opened Impact Hub and attended by 150 people ready to kickstart discussion around gender in Romania.
Three local thinkers were invited to speak: Writer and researcher Mihaela Ursa who studies gender relations and cultural representations of love at Babeş-Bolyai University in the city; human rights lawyer Dana Ududec who is a consultant for the Equality and Human Rights Action Center in Cluj-Napoca; and Cornel Marian Hoza, a graphic designer who started a local club dedicated to fighting discrimination and promoting social good in Romania — with chapters for men and women.
The Salon also featured two TED Talks: Tony Porter’s talk, “A call to men”, on encouraging men to reject and call out sexism and Manal al-Sharif’s talk “A Saudi woman who dared to drive”, on her quest to encourage women to drive in Saudi Arabia. The team chose these talks to bring international perspectives to the event, says organizer Vlad Gliga.
Discussion featured heavily at the event, as attendees asked questions of speakers and (compassionate) debate was encouraged. “We had around 150 people attending, with diverse backgrounds and different ‘knowledge levels’ about gender equality issues, policies and debates,” Gliga says. “That made the conversation more interesting as people had very different perspectives and the debate even heated up at certain points.”
Overall, the event was a success, says Gliga, and the team hopes to continue the conversation at an event centered around the livestream of TEDWomen in October.