On International Women’s Day UN Women Moldova calls for peace and solidarity
International Women's Day, commemorated annually on 8 March, is an international day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and girls, and an opportune moment to call for action to accelerate gender equality.
In 2022, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women and girls around the world who are leading the change for a more sustainable and climate-resilient future for all. This year, as we celebrate International Women's Day and the progress made towards a more gender equal world, we are also confronted with how that progress is being obstructed by multiple, interlocking and compounding crises, most recently, the ongoing military offensive against Ukraine. Whatever the crisis, from conflict to climate, women and girls are affected first and the hardest because of pre-existing gender inequalities and unequal power relations.
Conflict affects women, girls, boys, and men differently. Women and girls face heightened risks due to displacement and the breakdown of normal protection structures and support. Conflict also put women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
In Ukraine, men and women are impacted by the ongoing war in different ways. While the safety of all civilians in Ukraine is jeopardized, women and girls in particular are exposed to increased vulnerabilities due to pre-existing gender gaps and intersecting forms of inequalities. Women and children make a vast majority of the more than 1,5 million refugees. They bear the responsibility to take care of their family members, provide for them and protect them under very difficult circumstances. While doing so, they face numerous challenges and have diverse needs that have to be addressed.
Women's full and meaningful participation is also vital in improving peace and security processes. The inclusion of women in the decision-making processes and humanitarian response is therefore essential to ensure that their rights are upheld. No durable peace, recovery or stability is possible if half of any country’s population is prevented from fully, freely, and equally participating in the social, economic and political life of their country.
Simon Springett, Resident Coordinator of UN Moldova, says, “International Women’s Day offers us an opportunity to highlight the importance of women’s rights and recognize the criticality of women in leadership and women’s leadership. This International Women's Day we are faced with the sad but the very harsh reality of refugees many of which are women and girls. No one deserves to flee their homes and to seek refuge and no one deserves to be treated differently due to their gender. Gender equality is a foundation of human rights and thus remains a priority of the United Nations and underpins our development activities in every country of the world including in Moldova.”
Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Representative in Moldova, says, “International Women's Day is the day to commit to standing up for the human rights of women everywhere. It is a moment to celebrate and reflect on progress made on women’s rights and a day to call for an end to gender inequality. This International Women’s Day comes at a time when we’re seeing Ukrainian women and girls flee their country to seek a safe haven and protect their families, while leaving their partners, husbands, brothers behind. It is a heartbreaking situation, but at the same time, it is also a motive to continue working to uphold women’s rights and to support the displaced women and their families. It’s a sliver of hope to see many Moldovan women, NGOs, UN staff, including UN Women staff, mobilize and volunteer to help and support. I call for the international community to ensure that the humanitarian assistance planned and provided is gender-responsive and specifically addresses the diverse and differentiated needs of women and men.”
International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975 to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights require the active participation of women and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.