Women with disabilities remain vulnerable to discrimination and poverty, UN Women and UNDP survey finds
Women with disabilities in Moldova face obstacles in not only finding and maintaining employment but accessing different types of services as well. As a result, they are vulnerable to poverty and violence and in some cases, become socially excluded. However, nearly six out of ten women with disabilities are resilient to stigma and discrimination and well aware of their rights. These are the key findings of the survey "Analysis of the level of stigmatisation of women with disabilities," which was developed under a project funded through the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and implemented by the Moldova country offices of UN Women and UNDP. The survey’s findings were presented on 22 March 2023 during a workshop attended by service providers and women with disabilities from different regions of the country.
"Social barriers such as stigma and discrimination affect the ability of women with disabilities to integrate the social and economic life of the country. The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection advocates for an inclusive society, where every person can enjoy his or her fundamental rights and freedoms. In this context, the survey presented today will help us to better understand the problems faced by these people and to promote public policies oriented to their needs", said Vasile Cușca, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.
The survey found that three out of every ten women with disabilities in Moldova have had difficulty in employment and/or lost their job or source of income. Having limited access to public transportation and medical services are two other problems the women reported in the questionnaires.
Referring to violence, the interviewed women mentioned that the perpetrators were most frequently people close to the victims. The women also said that family, social assistance and medical services were the greatest sources of support in helping them overcome the consequences of violence. Meanwhile, local public authorities and the police were considered the least effective sources of support and intervention.
The survey found that one out of every two women who went through discrimination or abuse did not tell anyone about these negative experiences and among those who decided to report the problem, one out of four did not receive any support.
„To achieve transformative and innovative solutions, they must be inclusive right from the start. This means amplifying the roles of women and girls with disabilities across all aspects of development, including through meaningful engagement and inclusive consultations, and through targeted policy advocacy, inclusive programming, strengthening our partnerships with both UN and non-UN actors. The joint, cross-regional programme (2022-23) launched by UN-Women and UNDP in Moldova, Pakistan, Samoa, and Palestine (OPT), is an example which strengthens behavioural insights and intersectional approaches to confront stigma, discrimination, abuse, and Gender based violence (GBV) against women with disabilities. The event in Chisinau today presented important collected data which demonstrated the urgency to address existing stigma, discrimination by both state actors, CSOs, OPDs, UN partners, and private sector, together.” mentioned Abul Hasnat Monjurul Kabir, Global Adviser and Team Leader, Gender Equality and Disability Inclusion, UN Women.
"It is important that the voices of women with disabilities reflected in this survey as well as other studies and discussions are heard and that the challenges and proposals for solutions are taken into account while developing interventions, strategies and policies,” said Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative. “For UN Women, the issues highlighted in this survey, such as preventing and combating discrimination, stigma and violence and economically empowering women, including women with disabilities, remain a priority."
Valeria Ieșeanu, a Partnership Planning and Development Specialist at UNDP Moldova, discussed the challenges that remain. "Although in recent years we have witnessed several positive trends in the social and economic integration of women with disabilities, stereotypes and gender-based discrimination remain difficult obstacles for many women to overcome,” she said. “The findings of this survey must lie at the basis of future actions and policies to be adopted to ensure full equality between men and women."
The survey was conducted by the Motivatie Association of Moldova between 20 November 2022 and 12 January 2023, using a sample size of 110 women with disabilities from all over the country. The interviews were based on a methodology proposed by experts from the University College London.
The survey’s findings will be taken into account while strengthening services and interventions in the field.
Called "Addressing stigmatisation, discrimination and violence to empower women with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova,” the project, which is being implemented by UNDP and UN Women, seeks to address the key challenges in overcoming stigmatisation and discrimination and more effectively address violence against women and girls with disabilities.