Study: Reducing gender-based violence depends directly on women's economic empowerment

Posted June 11, 2021

Women living in poverty, those who are not employed and dependent on social benefits are the most vulnerable to gender-based violence. Thus, the economic empowerment of women could be an effective solution to prevent and combat this phenomenon. These are the conclusions of the study "Assessment of positive and negative factors that influence the expansion of women's economic rights and opportunities", conducted in Gagauzia region by the international expert Elena Bazueva.

The research was developed with the financial support of the Russian Federation. The activity is part of the project "Combating violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions", implemented by UNDP Moldova and funded by the Republic of Korea.

The data of the study were presented on 11 June 2021 at an online event organized by the UNDP and the Executive Committee of Gagauzia region. The discussions were attended by representatives of state institutions, private sector, civil society. The participants discussed about the structural barriers regarding the economic empowerment of women, and proposed solutions and recommendations for improving the situation.

Irina Vlah, Governor, Bashkan of Gagauzia region, mentioned in the opening of the event: “Today, humanity needs evolution, not revolution. This requires that the model of government based on pragmatism and constant readiness to use force should be replaced by a model of government based on wisdom, kindness, and the ability to find a compromise even in situations that seem hopeless. I urge all women to believe in themselves and to learn - and the authorities will take actions to ensure that opportunities for learning are sufficient and accessible.”

Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova, said: “ The issue of gender-based violence and women's access to the labor market are indivisible, and there are multiple barriers to that - stereotypes, education, the differences in payroll, access to financing opportunities - they all affect women’s life and influence our society's development. The promise of the Sustainable Development Goals - to leave no one behind - cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.”

The study notes that for women from Gagauzia aged 35-54, the level of unemployment exceeds that of men in the same age category. At the same time, more and more young people aged 15-29 are not in education, employment, or training systems (NEET). More young women than men are NEET.

A positive trend on the national and regional market is the increase in the total number of enterprises. In the case of Gagauzia regions, this rise is also due to businesses relying on human capital: education, health, and social care, art, entertainment, and recreation, all these domains implying employment of women. Also, programs focused on reducing gender segregation in the labor market are being implemented in the region by the associative sector.

The study also analyzed the perceptions of gender-based violence. According to the results of a 2018 OSCE survey, every second woman (45%) considers that her friends would agree that “violence against women is often caused by the victim” (for comparison, in European Union countries this indicator is only of 15%). So, the social environment does not intervene in cases of violence, considering them private matters.

The author assessed the possibilities of expanding the economic opportunities of women, concluding that the efficient implementation of legal mechanisms in this field is necessary. Likewise, women should be better informed about gender equality policies, combating violence, and available protection mechanisms, rights, and opportunities.

The participants in the public dialogue developed a roadmap, committed to be implemented by regional authorities. The document contains policy recommendations, proposals for changes in legislation, education system, but also concrete measures to empower women in Gagauzia region.

The project "Combating violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions" is implemented during 2018 - 2021 by UNDP, with the support of the Republic of Korea. The initiative is part of a comprehensive UNDP project that aims to address the prevention of large-scale violence, involving new partners, strategies, and funding sources. The project is implemented in seven countries around the world, with the Republic of Moldova being the only one in Europe.

With the support of the project, at the end of 2020, the first specialized center for the rehabilitation of women suffering from violence and their children was opened in the Gagauzia region. The service provides social, psychological, and legal assistance, but also support in finding a job.

Also, within the project, nine women and men from the village of Chirsova, Gagauzia region, obtained grants to start a business and provide jobs for women from vulnerable groups. The total value of the grants amounts to US$12,000. The winners were nominated based on a business plan competition.

Contact for media: Vitalie Frecăuțeanu, project coordinator, UNDP Moldova,, Tel: +373 69602254