In the context of gender mainstreaming within the EU-funded programme, EU4Environment Action, UNIDO organised an online training on gender sensitisation for project staff and key stakeholders in the Republic of Moldova. The activity is part of the work performed by UNIDO in implementing Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) and Circular Economy in the Eastern Partner (EaP) countries. Similar training workshops have already been conducted in other EaP countries.

The training workshop took place on 14 and 15 June 2022 and gathered representatives of key stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, industrial associations, private companies), the national experts in Moldova and other entities which are most critical in the successful implementation of greening the industry of the country.

Gender equality is central to the mandate of UNIDO because the goals for sustainable industrial development depend on eliminating social and economic inequalities between men and women. As well, gender equality is about creating equal opportunities for women and men by enabling them to equally contribute economically, politically, socially and culturally, so that no one is prevented from reaching their full potential because of their gender.

Moldova has signed and ratified all relevant international legal frameworks pertaining to gender equality and the empowerment of women, including the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Out of the 10 working groups of the National Strategy for Development “Moldova 2030” (introduced in February 2022), two are on the protection of the environment, and on ensuring equal opportunities, personal development, and family life.

When talking about gender opportunities, one of the main differences in labour force participation between women and men is the social expectation/stereotype regarding the role of a woman as a family caregiver. Namely, a significant difference in labour force participation is observed between women with and without children (20 % in 2014, one of the highest rates in Europe). In addition, the share of women who return to work after taking maternity leave is decreasing over years. Another problem common for all EaP countries is gender professional horizontal segregation which translates into a gender pay gap. Women are still under-represented in highly paid and in-demand sectors and are mostly employed in lower-paid jobs in economic sectors (public administration, education, health and social assistance, trade, hotels and restaurants – 72%).

Targeted training opportunities such as the one UNIDO offers to industrial enterprises in the field of RECP and a circular economy can contribute to boosting women’s involvement in business in Moldova. These opportunities should be reflective of existing stereotypes on the roles of women and men, barriers in access to finance and assets that women face, and limitation associated with the double burden with domestic and care work. Importantly, these stereotypes are also widely shared by women, not only by men. While UNIDO has limited opportunities to encourage better gender parity in civil service and at the decision-making level of government overseeing industrial development and greener economic growth, by supporting the government in stimulating industrial sector development, resource efficient production and a greener economy, UNIDO can contribute to promoting more opportunities for women. Therefore, it is important to wider engage women in these processes to utilize their vision, and experience and address climate change-related problems experienced by women such as poorer access to natural resources and utilities.