Narratives of Change – Open dialogue on Investing in Women and Gender Equality


On 17 March, UN Women hosted an open dialogue on how to ensure sustainable investments in gender equality in a world where women’s rights are facing push back. The event, which took place within the campaign for International Women’s Day, gathered representatives of Moldovan civil society organizations and Gender Equality advocates from across the country to share ideas on different ways to #InvestInWomen. The event also hosted the winners of the writing contest “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, who read excerpts of their essays calling for increased investments in gender equality.

writing comeptition

Women’s rights are increasingly coming under threat or being rolled back. Countries are withdrawing from international commitments protecting women’s rights, such as the Istanbul Convention, and are adopting regressive laws exacerbating impunity for perpetrators of domestic violence. Civic space for engagement with women’s rights organizations and feminist groups is shrinking and competition for limited resources is increasing. This results in weaker advocacy and accountability.

svetlana andries

In this context, Svetlana Andries, Deputy Country Representative of UN Women Moldova, said “Investing in women is both an economic imperative and a human rights issue. It is a human rights issue because the global economic and financial systems are complicit in perpetuating gender inequality. At the same time, financial resources are required to overcome these challenges and build a world that enables all women to realize their rights. Meanwhile, women’s rights are increasingly coming under threat or being rolled back. Women Human Right Defenders continue to face hostile attacks, reprisals and other severe, often gender-based, violations of their rights, and experience coordinated suppression of their freedoms of speech and association. It is in this context that we have gathered today to discuss how we can ensure sustainable investments in women and gender equality.”

andriana zaslavet

Participating in the dialogue, Andriana Zaslavet, President of the Gender Equality Platform, said “"Gender equality is a fundamental right, but it is not yet fully ensured. As women's organizations, we need to be stronger and have a unified voice to demand investments in our programs. We need funding for initiatives to prevent violence, combat inequalities, and promote education - only then will we be able to generate significant changes.”

Mihaela Cimbriciuc, communications coordinator for National Coalition against Violence, said “All our grant programs within the Coalition are based on the belief that women's organizations know best what they need money for and where to redirect these funds. Therefore, when we want to provide financial support, we go into the field to understand the context, the needs of women, and the organizations, and we redirect resources there. It is essential that transparency, trust, and needs-based funding go hand in hand for us to see results."

mihaela cimbriciuc

Ana Gherciu, executive director of, mentioned that “There is a lack of trust in what we, women, say and in how we explain our experiences. We are put in a position where we have to insist and bring numerous arguments to be heard and believed, while a man would only need to say one sentence. It is a continuous process that we must go through to reach a level of equal respect and appreciation, and it requires everyone's involvement to build a society where women's voices are heard."

ana gherciu

Radmila Popovici, Moldovan poet and writer, said “Since childhood, I have been stunned by certain preconceptions that seemed profoundly unfair to me. When I stepped into the world of literature, I found a dominant male model, with male authors being regarded as true stars, while female names were far too few. It was considered impossible for a woman to fight, in the same way as men, for a national cause or against war, as we try to do today. I wanted to bring reconciliation between men and women through poetry, believing strongly then as I do now, that it is possible. This attitude sparked waves of criticism and made people upset, especially in the literary society where I was told it would be more fitting to be a muse than to write myself. All these unfair remarks only fuelled my desire to fight against them."

ludmila popovici

The event also served as an opportunity to celebrate the winners of the writing competition “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, which called on Gender Equality Advocates and feminist change-makers around the country to motivate why increased investments in women’s rights and gender equality is needed, and how it can be done. 10 authors with diverse backgrounds were invited to read from their essays and received awards. The best author, Mihaela Gîscă from Chisinau, was awarded by UN Women with a grant to’s writing bootcamp.


The essay competition and event were organized by UN Women with financial support from the European Union and Sweden.