COVID-19: Moldova has three targeted measures in place to protect women against violence and only one to ensure their economic security, UNDP-UN Women tracker shows

March 22, 2021

Moldova has in place four COVID-19 gender-sensitive measures, out of nine monitored by the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker. The tool, launched in September 2020 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, and the Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) at the University of Pittsburgh, was just updated in March 2021.

The decrease in VAT for the hotel, restaurant, and café sectors targets Moldovan women economic security, as tourism activities (accommodation and food services) employ 2.2 more women than men.

The other three gender-sensitive measures adopted by Moldova refer to addressing violence against women:

  • In partnership with the Ministry of Health Labor and Social Protection, UN Women convened the first dialogue of the Inter-ministerial Council on ending violence against women during COVID-19.
  • In partnership with the Ministry of Health Labor and Social Protection, UN Women disseminated communication materials on services available for survivors of domestic violence and their contact details to 1000 women survivors.
  • Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection is undertaking a rapid GBV assessment collecting data and information on survivors’ needs during and after the state of emergency expiry as well as the evaluation of the system's response to the cases of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 crisis.

The other five measures that should considered gender aspects are:

  • Amendment to articles 1 and 2 of the Government Decision no. 504/2020 regarding increasing financial support for beneficiaries of pensions and social allowances that receive less than 3000 MDL a month from 700 MDL (42.1 USD) to 900 MDL (54.2 USD) from 1 October 2020.
  • Introduced subsidies for businesses tied to payrolls (PIT, social contributions- about 42% of the payroll). Firms which ceased activities will receive 100% of payments tied to payroll; those that continue to operate – 60% of payments tied to payroll
  • Minimum unemployment benefit is set to 2775  lei per month (157 USD), mostly to the benefit of returned migrant workers and other potentially ineligible categories who are made eligible for the emergency period under condition of purchasing the medical insurance (4056 lei or 29.5 USD for a year)
  • Permanent increase of social assistance benefit for families with children with increased adult equivalency coefficient for children from 50% to 75%.
  • Temporary increase of social assistance benefit (guaranteed minimum income threshold increased to 1300 lei (73.5 USD) from 1107 lei (62.6 USD) per adult equivalent during the emergency period).

To note, in September 2020, 2 out of 8 analyzed measures adopted by the Republic of Moldova were labeled by the tracker as gender-sensitive.

Worldwide, there are gaps in the economic recovery process that so far has largely excluded women’s specific needs. The tracker data show that, as of March 2021, only 13 percent of the 2,280 COVID-19 fiscal, social protection, and labour market measures target women’s economic security. And the measures taken - from cash transfers and food aid that targets or prioritise women - have often been small scale and temporary: one year into the pandemic, most of the cash transfer schemes had lasted only 3.3 months on average. Fiscal packages must include long-term specific measures to boost women’s recovery from the pandemic.

The Tracker also reveals that only 11 percent of social protection or labour market measures address unpaid care and domestic work, of which pre-pandemic, women were doing three times as much as men. Good practices, mostly taken by Europe and the Americas, include the provision of childcare services (34 countries), paid family or sick leave (44 countries), or flexible work arrangements (11 countries). 

Governments’ gender-related COVID-19 efforts continue to be most focused on addressing the increase of violence against women and girls during the pandemic, according to Tracker data. Of the gender-sensitive measures in the Tracker, some 64 percent focus on preventing or responding to violence against women and girls, including actions such as offering helplines, shelters and judicial responses.

While this is a positive first step, only one-third of countries with available data have treated violence against women and girls-related services as an integral part of their national and local pandemic response plans.

Note to editors:

The COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, by UNDP and UN Women, hosted on UNDP’s COVID-19 Data Futures Platform, provides insights on gender disparities in COVID-19 responses from gender-based violence to economic stimulus to social protection measures for women. It has been updated since its launch in September 2020 to include over 3,100 measures across 219 countries and territories.

More in-depth analysis on the Tracker data can be found in fact sheets here.