Discover the experiences of Ukrainian women refugees in the Moldovan IT community

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War means not only fights on the front lines but also in the lives of women forced to flee in search of safety. A range of initiatives are being implemented to help women refugees enhance their ITC skills and regain their right to professional and financial freedom. In the context of the event "Digital Connections: Moldova-Ukraine", women refugees from Ukraine, together with women from Moldova, participated in social networking discussions and connected with each other, building community connections for overcoming the challenges they confront. The event was organised by Seed Forum Moldova/IHUB, in collaboration with UN Women, with financial support from Sweden, in partnership with Tekwill project, with support from USAID. 

Femeile refugiate eveniment IHUB
Participants within the event „Digital Connections: Moldova-Ucraina”
Photo credit: Dinu Malancea/ UN Women

From the construction industry to digital business

Irina is from Ukraine, Odesa region and, for the last three years, she has been active in the construction industry. Prior to the start of the war, she changed her professional path and launched a start-up in the tech industry, more specifically, a platform that allows employers and potential employees to establish professional connections according to their needs and expectations. She has been living in Moldova for the past three months and continues to develop her business. Within the project, she had the opportunity to get to know new people, communicate with women from the same field, and benefit from the support offered by the entire community.

„Since the beginning of the war, a lot of my friends have lost their jobs. Professional reorientation helped me to adapt to these difficult times, and now I have development plans for my business, as in IT, you don’t necessarily have to be a programmer to pursue a career. The Moldovan community is my refuge and inspiration to grow and continue expanding my business.” va este refugiul și inspirația mea de a crește și de a continua să muncesc.”

IT connects women from Moldova and Ukraine

About 30 girls and women from Moldova and Ukraine exchanged their experiences, interacted, and discussed about the local labour market, while learning more details about the IT industry in the light of the projects implemented by Seed Forum Moldova/ IHUB, in collaboration with UN Women and with financial support from Sweden.

Femeile refugiate eveniment IHUB
The speech of Dominika Stojanoska, country representative UN Women Moldova, within the event „Digital Connections: Moldova-Ucraina”
Photo credit: Dinu Malancea/ UN Women

Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova country representative: “In the light of this event, our goal was for women to meet each other and find out more about existing activities and opportunities for girls and women from Moldova and Ukraine. STEM and IT are the fields with the greatest gender disparities, where girls and women study and work less due to gender stereotypes and pre-existing patriarchal norms. Moreover, in this field, there is the biggest gender wage gap, with women being paid less than men. We encourage women to reduce gender disparities, break stereotypes, analyse digital opportunities, and benefit from all the possibilities offered within this project.”

During the event „Digital Connections MD-UA”, Oxana Paierele, programme coordinator, Embassy of Sweden in the Republic of Moldova, shared an encouraging message for the programme participants: “Sweden is known for the implementation of programmes aiming to motivate creativity and innovation while promoting gender equality in Moldova. During the last few months, the Embassy of Sweden in the Republic of Moldova extended the number of beneficiaries of its ongoing projects, and, in this sense, both women and girls from Moldova and Ukraine can benefit from the opportunities of training and connection to innovation. Within this project, you can participate in events, benefit from free access to co-working spaces, and integrate within the existing tech community. Via this initiative, we would like to provide access to tech education, online courses, and infrastructure, so that the beneficiaries can work and take advantage of developing opportunities."

Femeile refugiate eveniment IHUB
The representative of a private IT company talks about the professional growth and employment opportunities in the field
Photo credit: Dinu Malancea/ UN Women

In addition, the participants had the possibility to learn from the IT private companies’ representatives, about professional growth and employment opportunities, in case they would like to pursue a career in this field.

Irina Grisca, IHUB Chisinau manager: „Through this event we aim to get to know each other better, to communicate and network, as we have a women’s community who want to develop themselves in ITC. The program provides them with a variety of opportunities such as infrastructure, access to co-working and community spaces, assistance and support, as well as the possibility to learn about job offers from IT companies in the market. We managed to connect, share our stories, and inspire one another. We will keep organising such events.”

Femeile refugiate eveniment IHUB
Participants within the event „Digital Connections: Moldova-Ucraina”
Photo credit: Dinu Malancea/ UN Women

„Empowering Women Hubs Networks” is a project that intends to support economic development by involving more girls and women in promising sectors. This will impact equality, independence, and the creation of better access to economic opportunities by promoting gender equality and women's empowerment through their participation in the development of information technology and communication.

The initiative is implemented by SEED Forum, in collaboration with UN Women, with financial support from Sweden, in partnership with Tekwill, financed by USAID and Sweden.