Photo: UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov
Photo: UN Women/Janarbek Amankulov

One of Europe’s poorest countries and a former Soviet Republic, landlocked Moldova is a parliamentary republic of roughly 3.6 million people, with another 400,000 living in its breakaway region of Transnistria. An estimated half of its 1.4 million workforce work abroad, their remittances accounting for at least a quarter of GDP.

While Moldova has made international and national commitments to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, in particular by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)  and various ILO Conventions, implementation lags. Women still face discrimination and inequality in social, economic and political life and their representation in Moldovan politics and decision-making remains below international benchmarks.

Women in Moldova face specific education and labour market barriers. Persistent patriarchal attitudes limit their educational choices and employment options. Women also face discriminatory practices. These include significant wage disparities, segregation into lower-paying occupations, unequal sharing of work and family responsibilities and limited access to childcare. Women entrepreneurs face barriers getting access to bank loans and to state-funded business and entrepreneurship development programmes.

Violence against women in Moldova is serious and widespread. Commissioned by the UN in Moldova in 2011, the study Violence against Women in the Family conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, found that 63 per cent of women experienced psychological, physical or sexual violence from their husband or partner and one in 10 experienced economic violence at least once. Rural, elderly and separated or divorced women had the highest rates of multiple types of violence.

To promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in Moldova, UN Women offers projects and initiatives focused on:

Throughout Moldova our initiatives empower women and aim to improve their economic opportunities and ensure that women and girls live a life free of violence.

We advocate for transparent and adequate public financing for gender equality. We promote gender-responsive budgets at all levels of national planning and budgeting so that adequate resources are transparently channelled to benefit both women and men.

We work closely with UN agencies in Moldova, under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator, to support efforts by the Government, Parliament, civil society, media and communities to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

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Valentina Rotari, 23, is pursuing a master’s degree in the Education and Culture department at “Alecu Russo” State University in Balti, a town north of Moldova’s capital, Chisinau. Find out more about how her views about gender equality have changed.

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See more news from Moldova here.