Alt text for image National „Let`s vote” Caravan advocated for the importance of women’s participation in elections, not only as voters, but also as candidates. Photo credit: “Women in Politics” Program/ Dorin Goian

In Moldova, UNDP works to support the country in meeting the gender equality commitments it assumed in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and the European integration agenda. We do so by incorporating gender equality principles in all the work we do to strengthen national capacities and systems, and in policies and programmes across the three priority areas of UNDP’s development assistance to Moldova: inclusive growth, effective governance, and climate change, environment and energy. A particular emphasis is placed on promoting measures that offer more opportunities for women to participate in decision-making, to be more competitive on the labour market and take leadership positions in the private sector.

Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls are at the heart of UNDP work. The Sustainable Development Goals emphasize that the realization of full human potential is not possible as long as half of humanity is left behind. Gender equality helps countries to realize the potential of women and men, their families, and communities. Achieving equality between women and men is a matter of human rights and is necessary for progressive human development.

The Republic of Moldova ranks 107 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) according to the 2016 Human Development Report. In gender equality, however, Moldova ranks higher, with 0.232, occupying place 46 in the Gender Inequality Index (GII), and being included in the first group of countries in terms of the Gender Development Index, with a value 1.010.

Moldova has undertaken international and national commitments to promote gender equality and empowerment of women: for example by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1994, and the Optional Protocol in 2006; adopting the Law on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (2006); adopting the Law on Ensuring Equality (2012); adopting the Law on Preventing and Combating Family Violence (2008) and further upgrading it (2016); ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (2010); developing and implementing the National Program on Gender Equality for 2010–2015; establishing the Anti-Discrimination Council (2013); and adopting the Strategy on the National Referral System for protection and assistance to potential victims of human trafficking (2009–2016).

The national legislative framework for equality between women and men is in line with international commitments. However, implementation lags behind, and women still face discrimination and inequality in social, economic, and political life, lacking effective opportunities for participation in decision-making in public and private sectors. Only 20.79% of the members of Parliament are women, 20.6% of mayors, 30.04% of local councillors, and 18.55% of district councillors – far below international standards and the country’s commitments under nationally and internationally agreed goals. The share of women entrepreneurs is at 27.5%, with women who wish to start their own business facing many barriers. Gender-based violence is still widespread in the country, while efficient mechanisms for combating and preventing domestic violence and systems for providing effective remedies to victims are lacking. Six in ten women experience some type of violence (psychological, physical or sexual) perpetrated by their husband/partner during their lifetime, and one in ten women experience economic violence at least once in their lifetime.

To address these issues, UNDP, alongside other United Nations agencies, has partnered with civil society organizations in advocacy for the adoption of Law No. 71, which provides for a 40% gender quota for political parties’ candidate lists and in the Government Cabinet, prohibition of sexism in media and advertising, and the introduction of 14 days of paternity leave. It is supporting the Government of Moldova in developing the next National Programme on Gender Equality for 2016–2020, and will continue to support gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment across key development areas in the country.

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