Equal Opportunities and Sustainability: #SheSupplies Conference and Women Local Producers’ Fair


For the second consecutive year, UN Women Moldova organised its annual conference dedicated to the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP). The event brought together decision makers, the business sector and industry-leading companies with strong commitments to promoting gender equality and reducing gender gaps throughout the value chain.

Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova Country Representative. Photo Credit: UN Women Moldova, Stela Donțu

This year's conference focused on Principle 5 – Implement Enterprise Development, Supply Chain and Marketing Models That Empower Women. The event provided business representatives with the opportunity to gain useful knowledge on gender-responsive procurement and sourcing practices, establish valuable connections with industry experts, initiate potential collaborations, explore ways to strengthen companies' commitments to gender equality in supply chains and participate in discussions on best practices and innovative solutions.

The event was organised by UN Women within the regional exhibition "Women's Entrepreneurship Expo 2023," which started with the national conference "#SheSupplies: Economic empowerment of women by promoting gender-responsive procurement." The conference was held on 20 October 2023, followed by the Women Local Producers’ Fair, entitled "Local. Natural. Sustainable," from 21 to 22 October 2023.

Photo credit: UN Women Moldova, Stela Donțu

In her welcoming speech, Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative, said that studies suggest gender-responsive procurement has a positive impact on profit and return on investment. “That's what matters to business,” she explained. “And for us this also means promoting gender equality.” She expressed her gratitude to representatives of Moldova’s Parliament, the government, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization, as well as representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Embassy of Sweden for joining the event and promoting gender equality. “I can't wait to see you at the women local producers' fair,” she said. “This event is a great opportunity to support them and buy natural and sustainable products from them."

Marina Morozova, a Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, said that Moldova has advanced considerably in promoting gender equality and ensuring women's rights, adding that the gender quota for women in Parliament has changed the agenda of the institution. “We have policies and draft laws that help women return to work and combine family and professional life,” she said. “The presence of women in decision-making positions has a significant impact on all processes, including budgeting. That is why it is very important to include women in the procurement chain in both the public and private sectors. I am very happy that we will have the opportunity to discuss how we can support women local producers together so that they benefit from a market."

Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova, explained that gender-responsive procurement is not only necessary for promoting gender equality; it will also propel Moldova's accession to the European Union. “Now is the best time to implement this principle,” she said. “Gender-responsive procurement benefits the public, private and state sectors. They streamline spending, helping to diversify the supply chain and support underrepresented businesses."

Those attending the conference also had the opportunity to join discussion panels, where two essential topics were addressed: "The national public procurement system and the women's empowerment perspective" and "The involvement of the private sector in shaping a gender-sensitive public procurement system." 

After the conference, the Women Local Producers' Fair took place in central Chișinău, at the Metropolitan Cathedral park. The fair convened nearly 100 women entrepreneurs, including refugees from Ukraine, who presented and sold unique products, from special gifts and traditional products to delicious snacks.

Mariana Zabrian, local producer, Photo credit: UN Women Moldova, Stela Donțu

The fair allowed visitors to discover authentic products from Moldova. People passionate about gastronomy had the opportunity to enjoy honey, tea, bee products, nuts, almonds, dried fruits, artisanal chocolate, cheeses, sausages, fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, along with many other products.

"We came to this fair of women local producers with a new product that we launched in Moldova, namely hand-crocheted shoes,” said Valentina Pănuță, an entrepreneur from Hîncești and the founder of TROPO Shoes. “I am very glad I had the opportunity to participate in this fair, because it enabled us to promote our locally made product, allowing us to put our ideas into practice."  

These activities took place within the regional exhibition "Women's Entrepreneurship Exhibition 2023," with the support of UN Women’s regional office for Europe and Central Asia, the Embassy of Sweden and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF).