Women Hub Balti, a new innovation centre for women and girls
On 20 March 2023, Women Hub Balti, a new IT centre for women and girls, was launched and implemented in the Republic of Moldova as part of the "Empowering Women Hubs Network." This initiative is being co-organized by the Moldovan Association of IT Companies (ATIC) and IHUB, in collaboration with UN Women Moldova and with financial support from the Government of Sweden.
Following the successful examples of Women Hubs in Chișinău and Comrat, the same model was applied in the Balti region, alongside the TIC Excellence Centre Tekwill Balti at the Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer NORTEK, which was created by USARB, ADR, the municipality of Balti and other institutions.
Women Hub Balti will serve as an inspiration space for women freelancers and startups in the northern region and will carry out programmes aimed at ensuring women's inclusion in the Republic of Moldova’s dynamic IT sector. Over the next eight months, the hub will launch training programmes for women as well as child support initiatives, both of which are important activities under the strategic partnership with UN Women.
Katarina Fried, the Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova, welcomed the new centre in Balti. "The creation of Women Hub comes in response to the increased interest of girls and women in the region to participate in training programmes and community events,” she explained. “At a time when the job market needs more and more IT professionals, this hub will become a long-term investment for ensuring qualified human resources, gender equality and more equitable regional development. Sweden will continue to support women in Moldova’s IT industry to choose, grow and develop a technology career. We have high expectations that the Women Hub here in Balti will become a support platform through its education and mentoring programmes."
Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative, said that retraining women in the IT field is a crucial step towards achieving gender equality in the labour market and Moldovan society. “We are committed to supporting and promoting such initiatives and to ensuring a conducive environment for women who want to get involved in this continuously developing sector,” she said. “Together with our partners, we are delighted to be part of this movement and to support the launch of Women Hub Balti, a space dedicated to women in the northern region, which will offer training and professional development opportunities in IT."
When ATIC began implementing women's programmes in Balti in 2021, they noticed a special interest among women of all ages to participate in training programmes and community events. They also noticed increased interest among IT companies to attract trained people who can develop new projects.
Ana Chirița, ATIC’s Executive Director, said the Women Hub has become a reality in Balti, starting today. “Meant to inspire, train and offer opportunities for employment or online or physical work, the initiative is created with the help of development partners: UN Women, Sweden, USAID and SlovakAid as well as private partners,” she said. “We believe in the need to support girls and women to become more confident when choosing or considering a career in the IT field."
So far, four editions of the "Women in Online Work" programme, one hackathon, the Tech Women conference and five meetups have been implemented in the Republic of Moldova. Over 300 women of all ages have benefited from these programmes, encouraging others to do the same.