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Women in rural areas in Moldova still lack empowerment

© UNICEF Moldova

   Chisinau, March 8, 2012 – More than one million women in Moldova live in rural areas. They still represent one of the most vulnerable groups of the society, having limited access to information and services, being less paid compared to men and under-represented in the decision-making process at regional and local level. Statistics show that women make up half of the labour force in the country but they are paid in general 30% less than men, especially in the public sector. A woman’s salary constitutes 76.4 percent of the man’s average salary. In rural areas, women are mostly employed in the service sector, agriculture, or non-managerial administrative positions.

   Empowerment of rural women is one of the key priorities of the Government’s Programme on Gender Equality for 2010-2015 aimed at promotion and advancement of rural women in such areas as employment, education, health, and political participation. In recent years, many more women are able to access training and obtain credit to open their own business thanks to the legislative framework and programmes to promote the advancement of women and secure gender equality by the Government of Moldova. Every 4th entrepreneur in Moldova is a woman and 3 out of 4 participants in business training programmes are young girls.  The number of women mayors at local level has slightly increased since 2003 when 138 women have been elected as mayors (15.37 %), in 2007 – 163 women (18.15%) and in 2011 - 166 women (18.51%). 

   “Rural women’s contributions and priorities have been largely overlooked”, said Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova, during a round table on “Role of Rural Women in Economic Development of Moldova”, organized by the UN Women on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. “Their rights need to be protected and their voices need to be heard. Now is the time to advance their economic empowerment and political participation”.

   Marked annually on March 8, this year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”. In Moldova, UN Women and other UN Agencies brought together central and local public authorities, non-government organizations, mass media during a series of roundtable meetings and discussions on the role of Moldovan rural women in the country’s economic development, especially in areas such as agriculture, business, management and public administration.  

   For more information, please contact Violeta Bunescu, UN Women Communications Specialist,
tel. 28 07 75, e-mail



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