Varvara Duminica

Varvara Duminica won the election to be local councillor. She previously worked as a Roma community mediator in the village of Chetrosu.

Photo: UN Programme ‘Women in Politics’/Ramin Mazur

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Sweden’s support to Women in Politics

Updated: 20 November 2015

Women and girls In Moldova, although constituting more than a half of the country´s population, yet are under-represented in the elected bodies that make key decisions affecting their lives.

Overall, the Moldovan society is shaped by persisting gender stereotypes with clear division of gender roles, and women´ social status is low. Discriminatory perceptions and attitudes are often discouraging women to take a more active stand. Women face several obstacles and challenges for a more active participation in politics and are often subject to multiple forms of discrimination.

Recently, Moldova went through an important phase in its political development with Parliamentary elections held in November 2014, followed by the local elections in summer 2015. Sweden provides strategic support to democratization processes in Moldova overall and, in particular, to produce a development change in the country in terms of promoting gender equality and women’s rights. 

 “Women in Politics” has brought encouraging results in terms of political empowerment of Roma women. For the first time in the modern history of Moldova since its independence in 1991, seven Roma women and girls were registered on electoral lists of political parties and as independent candidates to run for office for local councillors. 14 Roma women and girls acted as observers in local elections and monitored the respecting of electoral rights of Roma people on elections’ day. 

Two Roma women won the elections and are local councillors. One of the elected women is Varvara Duminica, 54, who worked for two years as a Roma community mediator in Chetrosu, a village in Drochia district, located in the North of Moldova. The second, 28-year-old Laura Bosnea, was elected as local councillor in Rascani town, also in the north of the country. She is also the youngest local councillor in the country.

Ms. Bosnea and Ms. Duminica see their election as an opportunity to develop their communities and build their country’s future. They emphasized the importance of raising awareness around gender equality at the local level, especially among Roma communities, and that getting more women involved in decision-making processes would improve life for all Moldovans. Both women plan to focus on educating youth and involving Roma women and men more actively in the community’s social, cultural, economic and political life.

- Educating young people and ensuring a decent living for our children is the key to becoming a developed country, argued Ms. Duminica.

Ms. Duminica will work to set up a Recreation Centre for young women and men, a Cultural Centre for the elderly, a sewage system and better roads in her village.

- Obviously, it is a huge achievement that two Romani women are now in City Hall, but still we need to struggle in order to remain in our places for our full four-year mandate, said Ms. Duminica.

Facts

Starting from June 2014 Sweden, in partnership with UN Women, UNDP, East Europe Foundation and Centre Partnership for Development, supports a comprehensive programme “Women in Politics”.  The Overall Goal of the Project is to support the increased participation of women in politics and in the decision-making process by creating an environment conducive to their meaningful participation, and to support  capacity development of women before, during and after the elections at the central and local levels.

As a result of a substantial capacity building for women candidates and aspirants in the elections, 56 women candidates from 13 political parties and one electoral bloc have improved their strategic communication, media and campaigning skills. Two of these trained women got elected as MPs and women representation in the Moldovan Parliament has increased by 2 %. The training of women candidates in the general local elections has also contributed to a 2 % increase in the number of women elected in the mayor office. Now there are 183 women mayors from the total of 896 communities, showing an increase by 17 women mayors.

The Swedish support has also a specific focus on the empowerment of women from vulnerable and socially excluded groups, such as Roma women and women form other ethnic minorities, women migrants, women with disabilities, unemployed, etc. According to the UNDP study on the situation of Romani women and girls in Republic of Moldova (2014) Roma women have been virtually excluded from representation in public life, and their involvement in decision-making remains below international benchmarks.


Page owner: Department for Europe and Latin America

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