How digital literacy contributes to women's employment and prevention of gender-based violence
November 22, 2022
This year, 25 women benefited from digital literacy courses offered at the Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Găgăuzia region. The training sessions were organised with the support of a UNDP project, funded by the Government of Romania through RoAid – the Romanian Agency for International Development Cooperation.
"Digital skills are a basic requirement on the labour market today, especially for women from vulnerable groups who often have only completed their secondary education. Any employer, whether in the private or public sector, wants to save time. The skills that women acquire allow them to meet this requirement – they will know how to use a computer quickly and efficiently,” says Svetlana Georgieva, director of the Center.
The participants are confident that they will now be able to find a better paid job.
"I don't want to do low-skilled jobs anymore"
Inga Milcan (40 years old) from the village of Chirsova is one of the beneficiaries of the training program. She has recently got back from her maternity leave after giving birth to her second child. Although she graduated from the Technical University of Moldova, she has never worked in her chosen field and had only basic IT knowledge.
"I decided to brush up on my knowledge and never again take low-skilled jobs. I want a job that I will be happy to go to. I want to live in Moldova, I have a house here, I am a householder, a mother, but I need to grow professionally,” Inga explains.
A re-start for refugees from Ukraine
IT courses are also a good opportunity for those Ukrainian women who decided to settle temporarily in Găgăuzia region when the war started in the neighboring country. “In Ukraine, these women were employed in different fields – medicine, banking, agriculture, education, etc. They like these IT courses because they allow them to gain new knowledge and qualifications, which they will be able to use to continue their training,” says Svetlana Georgieva.
Evgeniya is 41 years old and is from the Odessa region. She is accommodated at the Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Găgăuzia region for almost six months, together with her two children, Vica (4 years old) and Sasha (3 years old).
Before the war, Evgeniya was a seamstress. “We had a family business, my husband was a fashion designer – he designed clothes, I did the tailoring and sewing. We also employed several people. We used to sell our products at the famous Seventh Kilometer market in Odessa.”
The woman is confident that an IT training will help her: “I have gained experience that will be very useful to me. It will help us a lot in the development and promotion of the business”. Like her fellow Ukrainians, Evgeniya does not know how long she will stay in Moldova. Until then, she is determined to find a job.
Another refugee, Anastasia (30 years old), is from Mykolaiv and came to Moldova with her two children – Matvei (8 years old) and Varvara (10 months old). Before she had her second child, Anastasia worked in the banking sector.
“Before we came to Moldova, we spent a month under shelling. The city risked being isolated. We rushed to save the children. Some people we knew from Odessa rented a car, took us to the border. Then, in March, it thought that everything would end quickly. Leaving with an infant, not knowing where you will be accommodated and what to expect on this journey, is very difficult. Varvara was three months old when I came here,” Anastasia recalls.
Anastasia thinks that the digital education program is very important. “I used to work in Excel and Word, it was familiar to me, but I improved my skills. I learned that I could work much more efficiently. In my thoughts, I go home every day. My husband wanted a daughter very much, and it's painful to know that he doesn't see the child grow up. We are the hostages of this situation, but no one asks us if we like it or not,” says Anastasia.
After graduation, women are helped to develop their resume and find a job. “We have a database of business companies. Based on the skills and knowledge the women have, we refer them to the employers from out database and many of them find a job. So far, we've managed to employ five women who came from Ukraine,” says Svetlana Georgieva.
The qualitative research report on “Digital skills of women in Găgăuzia and their impact on the competitiveness of the labor market in the region”, produced with UNDP support, notes that digital literacy is one of the factors favoring the employment of women in the labor market.
Domestic violence and women's digital skills are interconnected, as digital skills contribute to women's competitiveness in the labour market. If a woman works, it improves her financial status, the study finds. Thus, she no longer depends entirely on her partner and can separate from him if he becomes abusive and violent.