UN Women Executive Director visits Moldova
Date: 12 June 2017
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called for the society to unite for advancing gender equality during her first official visit to the Republic of Moldova on 11-12 June. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka celebrated 10 years of cooperation between UN Women (previously as UNIFEM), Republic of Moldova, and the Government of Sweden on promoting gender equality and women’s human rights.
On the first day of her visit, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met with women Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss their work on promoting women’s rights and gender balance in leadership, political participation and decision-making. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka congratulated women MPs on passing a new law in 2016, which, for the first time, introduced gender quotas in party lists and cabinet nominees. UN Women has been a steadfast advocate for women’s leadership and political participation in Moldova, and contributed to the adoption the new law. A joint UNDP and UN Women programme, “Women in Politics” had also led to two Roma women winning seats in local elections for the first time in 2015.
On her way to Căușeni, a town in the south of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held discussions “on the wheels” with the representatives of women’s groups in Moldova. She stressed the important partnership between the civil society and UN Women in challenging existing social norms and improving legal frameworks.
Upon arrival in Căușeni, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka launched a public art installation, “Bright Future,” that symbolizes equality and a life free of violence for women and girls. During the event, she met with local authorities and women survivors of violence, also known as Positive Champions. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka praised the significant efforts of Positive Champions in helping and inspiring other women survivors of domestic violence in Căușeni and across Moldova to take the first steps towards a life free of violence. “I commend all the Positive Champions for their courage to break the silence around violence against women and girls and to drive action toward a world free of violence. You act as critical positive examples of how women can challenge stereotypes and combat harmful practices,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ncguka.
Following the opening, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka had a lively discussion with young girls and boys who advocated for ending violence against women during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in 2016. The youth shared with Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka their experience in advocating for women’s and girls’ rights and the impact they have observed.
On her final day in Moldova, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a high-level event, “Women-led solutions to ending violence against women – The journey of survivors of violence,” where women survivors of violence, also known as “Positive Champions” for their advocacy across Moldova, shared their experience of overcoming violence and empowering hundreds of other Moldovan women to take the first steps towards a life free of violence. “Everybody who is being discriminated against, who is being oppressed, who lives with violence needs to be empowered to become the champions of their own generation. Investing in people’s capacity to stand up for themselves is the most valuable investment you can make,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. Deputy Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family in Moldova, Viorica Dumbraveanu, highlighted the important role women played in drafting national legislation to prevent and end violence against women: “Eliminating the deeply rooted stereotypes engrained in every society is amongst the biggest challenges we face in the achievement of gender equality. Having realized the importance of creating state policies that work for everyone, we have, for the first time ever, consulted women survivors of violence when the state strategy on preventing and ending violence against women was drafted.”
Later that day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka held a high-level meeting with the Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip to discuss the important achievements in advancing gender equality in the country and the criticality of sustaining them. “The Government has a broader goal in mind than only drafting and implementing policies. We aim to deal with the deeply rooted problems, such as gender prejudices and stereotypes,” declared the Prime Minister.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also met the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament to discuss the adoption of recent legislation to strengthen the advancement of gender equality in the country. They especially focused on the adoption of a series of legislative acts in 2016 that introduced gender quotas in party lists and cabinet nominees and targeted elimination of violence against women. At the meeting, United Nations representatives reaffirmed their full support for the ratification of the recently signed Istanbul Convention for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded her visit with a meeting with the President of the country, Igor Dodon, where she underlined the importance of commitments made by the President ensuring that reforms will not undermine gains made on gender equality and women’s empowerment.