Seventeen Moldovan companies sign Women's Empowerment Principles
On Friday, 23 September 2022, UN Women Moldova organised the national conference "Promoting gender equality in the workplace, on the market and in the community". The event was attended by 17 companies that signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as well as other companies that support women's empowerment in both the workplace and community. It also brought together government institutions, international organisations and business associations that promote women's economic empowerment in Moldova and internationally.
This conference was carried out during the regional exhibition "Women Entrepreneurship Expo 2022" in Europe and Central Asia, which was organised by UN Women’s offices in the region. In the Republic of Moldova, UN Women organised the events in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, the European Bank for Reconstruction (EBRD), the Economic Council and signatory companies of the WEPs, with the financial support of Sweden.
During the conference, the participants discussed the benefits of implementing the WEPs and their impact in ensuring gender equality and sustainable economic development. They also discussed best practices for implementing the WEPs, challenges, lessons learned and the private sector’s role in empowering women and promoting gender equality. At the end of the event, the 17 signatory companies of the WEPs were awarded and representatives from other potential signatory companies had the opportunity to confirm their interest and willingness to implement the seven principles in the future.
Adopting the WEPs into companies' development strategies requires a large, voluntary corporate responsibility initiative. The principles help companies adjust their existing policies and practices or develop new ones to achieve women's empowerment.
Her Excellency, Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden in Chișinău, mentioned in her welcome speech: "The private sector is increasingly recognised as a key factor in not only stimulating economic growth but also in promoting sustainable social development, and companies oblige to be held accountable for their impact on society. Sweden supports the principle of cross-sectoral collaboration to help women grow their businesses and get actively involved in the market and their community. The principles of Women's Empowerment entail countless benefits and support economic development."
Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director, said: "Expanding support for local women producers is imperative and currently a priority of UN Women, as the pandemic and economic crisis have aggravated gender inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems that have affected women to a greater extent, especially women entrepreneurs. UN Women will continue to support women entrepreneurship through needs-tailored capacity development programmes."
Angela Sax, head of the EBRD office in Moldova, said: "The EBRD has a long history of supporting women’s entrepreneurship through personalised programs. We started implementing the economic empowerment programme in 2009, and since then there have been many changes to improve it. One thing, however, has remained unchanged: the fact that women’s entrepreneurship remains at the heart of this programme. In 2021, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement between the EBRD and UN Women to formalise our dedication, help achieve women's rights and increase their resilience, especially in an effort to recover from the multiple crises we are facing. We believe that when people have common interests, changes can happen much faster and easier."
The next two days were dedicated to the local fair of women entrepreneurs, which was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Republic of Moldova. The local fair, entitled "Women's economic empowerment: buy locally, naturally and sustainably", aimed to promote women entrepreneurs, especially small local producers and women business owners in rural areas. It was held on 25 and 25 September.
UN Women and the UN Global Compact developed the WEPs, under the subtitle Equality Means Business, to join efforts to ensure the inclusion of women at all levels. This initiative encourages economic agents of all sizes and from all countries, industries and sectors to take decisive actions to achieve gender equality. The principles are based on international standards in the fields of labour and human rights law and recognise the role and responsibility of companies in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.
The initiative is supported by around 7,000 signatories from more than 141 countries. The WEPs provide its signatory companies access to a global network of companies with similar values and help them invest in their future b contributing to the creation of an equal world.