Moldova honours 10 exceptional trail blazing women

UN Women in Moldova pays tribute to 10 women who made history for being “first” in predominantly male arenas like politics, sports, military, business, science, and engineering.

Date: Friday, March 30, 2018

Photo: UN Women
UN Women in Moldova pays tribute to 10 women who made history for being “first” in predominantly male areas. Photo: UN Women Moldova/ Andrei Bogus

Aiming to encourage women and girls in Moldova to assert themselves as leaders and professionals in all fields, the month-long UN Women You know you can campaign closed with an award ceremony in the capital, Chisinau, that honoured 10 women pioneers for being “first” in a male-dominated area.

You know you can sought to make exceptional Moldova women more visible and their stories better known. I thank our heroines for being part of You know you can, for sharing their struggles and successes, and for teaching us that persistence and courage transcend stereotypes,” said Asya Varbanova, Acting Head of Office at UN Women Moldova.

Women in Moldova continue to face discrimination, unequal pay and inequality throughout social, economic and political life – something highlighted by the illustrated speech by UN Women, , which was shown at the event.

Although more girls than boys attend secondary and tertiary schools in Moldova, only 39 per cent of women are employed, compared to 43 per cent of men. Women earn 14.5 per cent less than men, and the pay gap is significantly higher in better-paid sectors, such as information technology and finance.

“By choosing me as one of the 10 women who made history in our country, you also chose to value science and research in Moldova,” says Svetlana Cojocaru, the first female Head of the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova.

Signe Burgstaller, Ambassador of Sweden in Moldova. Photo: UN Women Moldova/ Andrei Bogus
Signe Burgstaller, Ambassador of Sweden in Moldova. Photo: UN Women Moldova/ Andrei Bogus

Gender inequality persists in politics and decision-making: Women make up only 22 per cent of Moldova’s Members of Parliament (MPs), 38 per cent of the ministers, 21 per cent of mayors, 30 per cent of local councillors, and 19 per cent of district councillors.

Varvara Duminica, honoured as one of the first two Roma women elected as local councillors, said: “I urge other Roma women to take the challenge and get actively involved.”

“I congratulate these history-making women, champions in ‘masculine’ professional fields. You are role models and an inspiration for Moldovan women and girls, motivating them to take their destiny in their own hands,” said Signe Burgstaller, Ambassador of Sweden in Moldova.

The 2018 You know you can campaign women honourees are:

  • Ludmila Scalinii, signatory of Moldova's Declaration of Independence and an MP in Moldova’s first Parliament
  • Mariana Grama, the first woman Colonel in the Ministry of Defence
  • Mariana Esanu-Cherdivara, triple European champion, double World champion and the only Moldovan women’s wrestler at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
  • Alina Radu, the first woman to found an investigative newspaper (Ziarul de Gardă)
  • Varvara Duminica, one of the first two Roma women elected as local councillors
  • Svetlana Cojocaru, the first woman to head the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Catinca Mardarovici, gender equality activist and founder of 50/50, the first women's political club, and an MP 1994-1998
  • Maria Acbas, founder of the Oloi Pak dairy factory and one of the country’s largest cattle farms
  • Izzy Izvne, the only Moldova graffiti artist in the 2014 book, 100 European Graffiti Artists
  • Natalia Buza, the first woman Deputy Head of a Border Police sector

Organized in partnership with the History Museum of Moldova, with support from the Government of Sweden, the award ceremony included the launch of a photo exhibition honouring the award winners.