Focus areas

Gender equality


Women's rights are human rights

The national legal framework on equality between women and men is in line with international standards. Despite this, women are still facing discrimination and inequality in social, economic, and political life. They have limited opportunities for effective participation in decision-making process and fully participate in public life. Women are disproportionately represented in the decision-making positions at all levels. Even though more that 50% of the population are women, women form only 40% of the members of Parliament. Moldova has one of the lowest gender gap in labour force participation in the region. The trends of recent years show an amplification of the discrepancy in both the women employment (35.4% as compared to 44.7% for men) and labour force participation rates (36.4% and 46.5%, accordingly). Women continue to be over-represented in rural and informal economies. Latest survey on women entrepreneurship indicates a low share of women entrepreneurs 33.9%, with women who wish to start their own business facing many barriers.

Gender-based violence is still widespread in the country. Existing mechanisms for combating and preventing domestic violence and the remedies available are not fully efficient, as the country has strong policies and a legal framework to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV), but the high prevalence rate of intimate partner violence (73%) points to the gap between policies and the lived experiences of women and girls. Over one in three women aged 15 years and older in the country have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. In addition, the war in Ukraine generated an influx of refugees and a compound crisis of energy and food security, exacerbating in multiple ways, already existing gender inequalities.

Commitment. Equal opportunities. Empowerment

In Moldova, UNDP works to help the country shift systems and power structures that generate gender inequalities and women’s disempowerment. 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 labor market, to take leadership positions in the private sector and to stand jointly against the gender-based violence. UNDP will work through its six signature solutions: on poverty and inequality; governance; resilience; environment; energy; and gender equality.

The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova launched the Women Caucus of the 11th legislature. This is a new framework for inter-institutional cooperation and dialogue that will enable women MPs from the Republic of Moldova, both the parliamentary majority and the opposition, to find a common ground for consolidation and promotion of women's rights in the country.

UN Women Moldova

In depth

UNDP, alongside other United Nations agencies, has partnered with civil society organisations in advocating for the adoption of legal provisions which established 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. UNDP will continue to support gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment across key development areas in the country.

UNDP Moldova contributed to critical amendments to the legislation addressing gender-based and domestic violence, adopted in July 2016, that have introduced a 10-day restraining order that isolates the perpetrators from the family home, along with other unprecedented measures to increase the safety of victims. At the same time, UNDP Moldova provided critical support to women in leadership positions at all levels enabling them to become effective drivers of gender equality agenda, created jobs and supported women-led businesses, set-up services in support of the most vulnerable and marginalized women across the country.

Prevention and response to gender-based violence

In response to the spread gender-based violence in the country, UNDP Moldova produced new tools and evidence on the benefits of GBV prevention for achieving the SDGs, by stimulating strong participatory processes and local responses which, in their turn, ensure greater impact and resilience to the GBV triggers. Găgăuzia's regional authorities (with a population of 140,000) were supported to localize the National Strategy on GBV through piloting the creation a local multidisciplinary team in Chirsova village and developing a participatory action plan. 

In 2020, UNDP established a Regional Centre in Găgăuzia region for GBV survivors and impacted community members can access psychological, legal and social assistance services, including through the creation of a Mobile Team to serve remote localities in the region. The Safe Space aided both Moldovan GBV survivors and refugee women from Ukraine, adapting to their needs.

UNDP's adaptation of the Common Elements Treatment Approach was used to address various issues in impacted families. The Safe Space was the most important missing link in the efforts of regional and local authorities to counteract the GBV phenomenon. It has given local authorities an important instrument to support and empower survivors of GBV and prevent ongoing occurrence of GBV.  

Gender equality and inclusive growth

UNDP helps public authorities and private sector in Moldova to promote equal opportunities for women and men with interventions ranging from policymaking to implementation. Social and economic empowerment of women is an area of special interest for UNDP’s work in Moldova. We contribute to SDG 5 by focusing on fostering women’s participation in decision-making and in local governance, social, human rights, and economic activities.

Aiming to achieve sustainable women’s economic empowerment, UNDP will address the factors that can most directly promote it: access to individual, household, and community resources; the breaking of unequal social norms and the building of strong, inclusive and gender sensitive institutions.

UNDP will work with the private sector, improving access of women entrepreneurs to capacity development programmes and financing opportunities, as well as fostering cooperation and mutual support among business networks on both banks of Nistru river.

New technologies are changing the dynamics of work and the skills required presenting both opportunities for creating gender-equal economic opportunities for women, as well as important challenges. A key priority for UNDP is to ensure that women have relevant skills in the context of future of work. The need for skilling and reskilling will be addressed along with other factors constraining women’s equal access to economic opportunities, such as the unbalanced burden of unpaid care, social norms and stereotypes, and workplace inequality.

UNDP will continue to promote the advancement of digital literacy of women and girls, especially for those from disadvantaged groups, as well as for the advancement of women’s and girls’ access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Gender equality and effective governance, justice & human rights

UNDP helps the national partners to develop gender-sensitive policies and budgets, introduce gender analysis in policymaking, set gender-sensitive targets and indicators, and collect and disseminate sex disaggregated data. The Parliament is being supported in the re-establishment of the Women Caucus and enhancing its role in law making and oversight. The capacity of the Central Electoral Commission to collect, analyze and disseminate sex disaggregated data on candidates, elected officials, electoral administrators and active voters was enhanced through the automated elections system developed with UNDP support. The recruitment system of Police is being reformed, also with a view at creating better opportunities for women to join Police forces. UNDP will set the systems for the coordinated and coherent work of the law enforcement and justice sector actors to improve the access to justice of the vulnerable groups, and in particular, of the survivors of gender-based violence.

Similarly, UNDP supports creation and development of services for combating domestic violence and breaking the chain of gender-based violence.

Gender equality and climate change, environment & energy

Environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change and climate vulnerability affect men and women disproportionally. Moldova’s rural women are four times more prone to absolute poverty, and their unequal economic and social status makes them more exposed to climate and environmental hazards. The traditional role of women as caregivers, who look after and provides for the family, often makes them more vulnerable when the effects of climate change hits. UNDP in Moldova is supporting rural communities and women-led households and entrepreneurs to protect themselves, their families and their life-supporting ecological environment, through economic, social and educational empowerment. With an increased focus on women’s access to education and knowledge, women will increasingly play a stronger role in establishing new sustainable and climate resilient agricultural practices and business models which employ energy efficient and renewables technologies, as well as identifying co-financing for climate resilient agricultural production solutions at the local level, especially in vulnerable communities. Furthermore, by shifting the focus from vulnerability to empowerment, capacity building measures have the potential to transform into gender equality opportunities. Such an approach would overturn gender stereotypes, compounded by social and cultural norms and will empower women to become agents of change.

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