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Invest in Women: UN Women Launched the International Women’s Day Campaign

UN Women launched the International Women’s Day campaign. The event “Invest in Women: Empowerment Stories organized by UN Women, with the financial support of the European Union and Sweden, reiterated the importance of investing in women as a human rights imperative and a cornerstone for building inclusive societies.

The event was held in a storytelling format, structured in two sessions focused on women’s stories, as well as interventions by representatives of authorities. Thus, strong and determined women who benefited from various empowerment programmes, as well as representatives of central and local authorities, civil society organizations, the private sector, international organizations and UN agencies shared their experiences and visions on how to increase investments in women to ensure a prosperous and equitable society.

Women told their stories of empowerment, highlighting the positive impact of the initiatives they benefited from, while stressing that women’s progress benefits the whole of society. Each story was a call for more investments in a particular field, launching a dialogue with representatives of institutions in that field.

The event started with a number of interventions by representatives of government authorities and the international community. In her welcome speech, Larisa Voloh, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Administration and Regional Development, highlighted the ways in which government authorities can invest in women. “Women, just like men, have something to contribute to the development of our society. The non-involvement of more than half of the Moldovan population in the decision-making processes only means an unbalanced approach and unilateral solutions to the most important problems of society. What does investing in women mean to us, those in government? It means increasing economic opportunities by reducing barriers, creating an integrated national model of support for women’s professional development, strengthening the national infrastructure in order to reduce obstacles faced by women today, contributing to the implementation of priority gender equality policies. Today’s investment will ensure tomorrow’s future.”

The State Secretary of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, Rodica Crudu, outlined the benefits of equal involvement of men and women in decision-making processes to ensure a democratic society. “Participation of more women in the decision-making process has many positive effects on the society, which can improve the standards of living of both women and men. It can help us achieve inclusive governance, and positive developments in various sectors, such as education, health, infrastructure, and reduce political corruption. Women active in social and political life in the Republic of Moldova proved that it is possible. Behind every woman is a story, a struggle, as well as an extraordinary potential. Today, we are committed not only to reviewing these stories, but also to celebrating and supporting them. Let’s join our efforts and invest in their empowerment, offering them equal opportunities and support.”

H.E. Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to Moldova, who attended the event, spoke about the importance to invest in women and the joint efforts made by the EU and UN Women to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. “By investing in women’s stories and experiences, we contribute to a broader vision of their empowerment and resilience. Commitment to gender equality is a joint action, with the European Union standing by the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and actively supporting initiatives that bring about positive change. Between 2020 and 2023, the EU invested 5 million euros in the EVA project[1], which transformed 24 communities in Cahul and Ungheni districts into champions of gender equality promotion. Notable achievements include the launch of the Regional Integrated Service for Victims of Sexual Violence in Ungheni and the establishment of 16 clubs, which provided guidance to 250 women towards income-generating vocations and activities. At the same time, 24 local public authorities committed to respect the principles of gender equality by signing the European Charter.”  

In continuation of these efforts, the European Union will support, by September 2027, a new project launched by UN Women – EVOLVE4GE: Accelerating gender equality ensuring women’s empowerment through economic opportunities, combating violence and gender-sensitive governance, which aims to ensure equal access to resources, rights and opportunities for all women and girls in the Republic of Moldova, including the elimination and prevention of violence against girls and women, also with the support of media institutions.

H.E. Katarina Fried, the Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova, argued the importance of investing in gender equality, saying that “it is both the right and smart approach. It is right to demonstrate that the entire world’s population, with half of them women and girls, have equal opportunities to live their lives, build their future, and contribute to the development of society, using their full potential and capabilities. Achieving gender equality helps enrich our societies, making them happier and healthier for all, women and girls, men and boys. The complex and challenging part is to make people realize this, act accordingly, and invest.”

At the same time, Laura Hruby, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Chisinau, spoke about the need to involve women in all processes, including decision-making, and reaffirmed the support of the United States Government to empowering women in Moldova. “We will not be able to address current challenges without fully empowering and investing in women. Therefore, the United States continues to support women in key sectors, from the constantly growing digital economy to the tourism industry that employs more than 23,000 people, mostly women, young men and women, and even law enforcement – because women belong wherever decisions are made.”

Simon Springett, UN Moldova Resident Coordinator, reiterated the importance of investing in the promotion of women’s rights. “In Moldova, 42 percent of working age women are employed compared to 51 percent of men. At the same time, Moldovan women are overrepresented in such sectors as health, education and public administration, where salaries are usually lower, while they are less involved in sectors with higher income potential, such as technology and finance. Recognizing women’s rights as a key area for investment is crucial to developing innovative solutions that enable women to exercise their rights, break out the poverty circle and truly thrive. Investing in women is a cornerstone for building inclusive societies. Progress towards gender equality benefits the whole society.”

The host of the event, Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Representative to Moldova, was keen to reinforce the collective message of the campaign “Investing in women is both an economic imperative and an important human rights issue, because the global economic and financial systems are complicit in perpetuating gender inequality. To accelerate progress towards achieving gender equality and end women’s poverty, we must invest in policies and programmes that address gender inequalities and encourage women’s financial independence and leadership.”

To create an interactive atmosphere, a panel with the #InvestInWomen hashtag was installed at the event, and participants were invited to share their thoughts or messages about the need for investment in women and ways to increase it.

In a world facing multiple crises that put immense pressure on communities, achieving gender equality is more important than ever. Ensuring the rights of women and girls in all aspects of life is the only way to ensure prosperous and equitable economies, and a healthy planet for future generations. Women’s progress benefits us all.

[1] EVA project – Promoting gender equality in Cahul and Ungheni districts, funded by the European Union, and implemented by UN Women Moldova in partnership with UNICEF.