Population of women: 1,863,000 / 3,545,000
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 73
School life expectancy for women: 12
Women’s adult literacy: 98%
Unemployment of women: 3.4%
Women engaged in economic activity: 46.5%
Source: UN Statistics Division, Social Indicators, June 2011
last updated November 2011
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, all citizens are “equal before the law and the public authorities” and may not be discriminated upon based on gender. From: Constitution Finder, The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, 29 July 1994. Despite this declaration, numerous gender disparities exist. In 2009, women in Parliament represented only 24.7 percent of total seats held. Another disparity exists between salaries; a female’s average salary in 2009 was 76.4 percent of a male’s average salary. In 2010, the Government of Moldova, with the assistance of United Nations agencies in Moldova, produced The Second Millennium Development Goals Report: Republic of Moldova. The report stipulates that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) regarding the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women should be achieved by broadening women’s participation in social and political life. The government seeks to accomplish this through various measures, including: increasing the number of seats held by women in Parliament; increasing the number of female leaders in the top management levels of public administration, economic or social organizations; and reducing the disparity between women and men’s wages. Each of these targets is an indicator for monitoring progress. From: The Government of the Republic of Moldova, The Second Millennium Development Goals Report: Republic of Moldova, September 2010.
In February 2006, the Moldova Parliament adopted the Law on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Law No. 5-XVI from 09.02.2006). The law stipulates the basic notions of gender equality and presents the institutional framework in which the law is to operate. The law does not, however, address enforcement mechanisms and specific programs for ensuring equal opportunities between women and men. Also, the law does not provide clear procedures for submitting and examining gender-based discrimination complaints or for sanctioning reported cases of discrimination, and it does not establish specific budgets for implementation of the law. Finally, the law does not include any reference to violence against women. From: The Official Monitor of the Republic of Moldova, Law 5-XVI from 09.02.2006 on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, 9 February 2006.
The 2006 CEDAW Assessment Tool Report for Moldova, published by the American Bar Association (ABA/CEELI), found that despite important gains, women in Moldova continue to confront widespread discrimination and other violations of their rights compared to international standards. The ABA/CEELI report found that women in Moldova continue to experience varying amounts of discrimination in a variety of settings, including employment, finance, social security, politics, the justice system, education, healthcare, and within the family. The high levels of domestic abuse are not recognized as a serious social concern, according to the report, which the ABA/CEELI believes contributes to gender discrimination in other settings. The report concludes that the lack of enforcement of judicial decisions remains a major obstacle to the protection of women’s rights in Moldova. The government has taken legislative measures, however, to address these issues.
To further the implementation of Law No. 5-XVI, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) established a program to enhance governmental capacities to realize Moldova’s commitment to gender equality. The program is focused on enhancing a) political will for women’s rights and gender equality; b) national capacities and mechanisms for implementation of international commitments to women’s rights and gender equality; c) monitoring and accountability of progress towards gender responsive policies and programs; and d) coordination of all women’s rights and gender equality efforts. From: United Nations: Moldova, UNIFEM in the Republic of Moldova, 2011.
Data on domestic violence (DV) in Moldova is scarce and statistics currently available fail to encompass all forms of domestic violence. The U.S. State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report on Moldova found that 40 percent of Moldovan women had experienced at least one violent act in their lifetime. Furthermore, 51.3 percent of women who had a sexual partner had been victims of psychological violence and 24.2 percent of women reported being victims of physical violence in their lifetime. Most victims of DV receive little response from government or society, with many viewing it as a normal part of private life. Few women report domestic violence because of these views, as well as the lack of legal forms of redress. From January to November 2010, according to the Ministry of the Interior, 1,997 cases of domestic violence were reported. However, because of endemic underreporting, more accurate figures are believed to be much higher. From: U.S. Department of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Moldova, 8 April 2011.
Despite important gains, women in Moldova continue to confront widespread discrimination and other violations of their rights compared to international standards. A report on Moldova by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women found that “domestic violence in particular is widespread, largely condoned by society and does not receive appropriate recognition among officials, society and women themselves, thus resulting in insufficient protective infrastructure for victims of violence.” Though Law No. 5-XVI prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, it does not provide a mechanism that would enable women to seek redress for the discrimination. From: The Equal Rights Trust, Universal Periodic Review Submission: Moldova, 21 March 2011.
In December 2008, the Government adopted the “National Strategy on Gender Equality in the Republic of Moldova for Years 2010-2015.” This strategy, in part, addresses the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence. The government identifies as priority problems the “persistence of domestic violence against women and girls, persistence of violence against girls and boys in the educational system, existence of sexual harassment at work, and trafficking in women and girls as a consequence of domestic violence.” As additional barriers, the strategy lists the lack of public awareness about domestic violence, the dearth of specialists’ training in fields connected to “identification, registration, and referral of cases of domestic violence, the lack of human and financial resources to aid victims of domestic violence, the inadequate services provided for victim assistance and protection, among others. From: The Government of the Republic of Moldova, National Strategy on Gender Equality in the Republic of Moldova for Years 2010-2015, 2 December 2008.
On 18 September 2008, the Law on Preventing and Combating Family Violence (Law 45-XVI) entered into force. It provides for an order for protection, greater inclusion of NGOs in preventing and combating domestic violence, and recognizes the security of victims as a basic principle. The new Law on Domestic Violence defines, for the first time, what constitutes domestic violence. Additionally, the Law’s framework states plainly that violence against women is a criminal offense and defines appropriate punishments for perpetrators. The law was amended in 2010 according to Law No. 167. Articles 7, 8, and 11 of Law 45-XVI were supplemented to increase authorities and institutions responsible for preventing and combating family violence and to broaden the victim’s right to protection and services. From: Unofficial Translation Prepared by the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Law on Preventing and Combating Family Violence, entry into force 18 September 2008.
While the Domestic Violence Law marks an important step in Moldova’s effort to address domestic violence, obstacles remain. Although the Law provides for victim protection services, limited funding has prevented the creation of these resources. Additionally, the police have inefficiently enforced the Law, resulting in discouraging many women from reporting cases of DV. From: 7th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Equality between Women and Men, Report on Gender Equality Implementation, 7 May 2010. In 2010, Moldova saw a 12% increase from 2009 in serious bodily injuries. Domestic violence victims’ calls to police also rose in 2009. The Domestic Violence Law is predominantly responsible for increased police calls, but rising criminality in Moldova is another factor. From: Zaporojan-Pirgari, Angelina, Report on the Response to Domestic Violence in Moldova, May 2011.
Moldova has various forms of gender-related legislation. These include the Moldovan Constitution, which guarantees freedom from discrimination based on gender; the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Moldova ratified in 1994; the Law on Ensuring the Equality of Opportunities between Women and Men (Law 5-XVI), which was adopted in 2006 and designates specific government departments as primarily responsible for enforcing this law. Law 5-XVI also established The Governmental Commission for Equality between Women and Men. Other key gender-related legislation includes the Law on Prevention and Combating Violence in the Family, adopted in March 2008; the Law on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, adopted in 2005; and the National Strategy on Gender Equality and associated National Action Plan for 2010-1015. Though these laws constitute a solid foundation for gender equality, a lack of implementation and budgetary resources prevents these laws from being effective. From: USAID, 2011 Gender Assessment for USAID/Moldova, 8 March 2011.
Trafficking in Women
In Moldova, 80% of women and girls who were trafficked have experienced domestic violence both before and after they were trafficked. From: IOM, Trafficking as it is: A Statistical Profile: 2005-2006 Update, 2007. At present, Moldova has a basic legal framework to regulate human trafficking. Recent legal advancements include adoption of a special law on human trafficking, ratification of international conventions and treaties in the field, and enhanced cooperation in the framework of relevant international organizations on the problem of human trafficking and illegal migration. Criminal prosecutions and convictions have increased considerably since 2002, in part because the Office of the General Prosecutor created a special anti-trafficking unit in 2000. According to the 2010 National Report on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Persons in Moldova, in 2007 there were 288 criminal cases of trafficking in persons (including of children) and 59 convictions in 2008 there were 246 cases and 68 convictions; in 2009 there were 206 cases and 70 convictions; and in 2010 there were 161 cases and 53 convictions. From: National Committee for Combating Trafficking in Persons, 2010 National Report on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Persons in Moldova, 2010.
In October 2005, the Moldova Parliament ratified Law No. 241-XVI on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (click here to see all normative acts on trafficking). The law a) regulates legal relationships concerning the prevention and combating of human trafficking, b) provides a framework for protection of and assistance to victims and c) provides for cooperation of public authorities with NGOs and cooperation with other states and international organizations competent in the field. The law introduces basic principles for combating trafficking, elaborates on a National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (approved for a two-year term), establishes a National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings as the national coordinator of all actors involved in prevention and combating of human trafficking, establishes the Territorial Commissions to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, appoints law enforcement bodies in the field, and stipulates the functions and attributes of all public administration authorities in the field. Regarding protection of and assistance to victims of trafficking, the law identifies the entities that may establish centers for protection, but does not require the creation of such centers, and provides that trafficking victims shall benefit from a minimum package of social and medical assistance. With regard to funds for enforcement of all enumerated measures, the law stipulates, “[u]pon the proposal of authorities responsible for implementing this Law, the budget law shall annually provide necessary funds.”
The adoption of Law No. 241-XVI was followed by several normative acts including, but not limited to: the National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (approved by Government Decision No. 903 of 25 August 2005); the Decision of National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings on the creation of a unified system for monitoring implementation of the National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings as of 10 February 2006; the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Moldova constituting the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings; the Decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova on the application of legislative provisions in cases of trafficking in adults and children; and the Decision on the creation of Assistance and Protection Center for Victims and Potential Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in 11 July 2008 (click here for all legal texts). From: OSCE Mission to Moldova, Trafficking in Human Beings and Gender Equality in Moldova: Updated Normative Acts, 3 February 2010.
On 16 December 2005, Moldova ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The stated purposes of this Protocol are a) to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, paying particular attention to women and children; b) to protect and assist the victims of such trafficking, with full respect for their human rights; and c) to promote cooperation among States Parties in order to meet those objectives. From: UN General Assembly, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000.
Moldova also worked with the European Union to prevent human trafficking. The EU and Moldova launched the EU-Moldova Action Plan in February 2005. The plan represents a “roadmap” to successful future relations between Moldova and the European Union and lays out the strategic objectives of cooperation between Moldova and the EU. The Plan addresses the implementation of approximately 300 actions over three years. One such reform calls for the development and implementation of “an appropriate legal framework for the prevention of, and the fight against, the trafficking in human beings, and for addressing the problems faced by victims of trafficking.” The Plan includes several points in how to achieve this reform, including legal revisions, improved cooperation with relevant international organizations, and acceptance of important international instruments. From: European Union, EU-Moldova ENP Action Plan, 22 February 2005. The 2011 EU-Moldova Joint Progress Report contains a Justice, Freedom and Security chapter concerning provisional agreements on cooperation on migration, fighting organized crime, and border management; areas that impact trafficking in human beings. From: European Union, Second Joint Progress Report: Negotiations on the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement, 11 April 2011.
In December 2005, the Criminal Code was amended by Article 362, “Organization of Illegal Migration.” This provision stipulates that “organization, for financial gain, of the illegal entry and/or residence on a state’s territory of a person that is not its citizen or resident” is a criminal offence. It is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of three to five years, with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions, exercise certain activities for one to three years, or by the closure of the organization concerned. From: The Official Monitor of the Republic of Moldova, Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova: No.985-XV: Excerpts, 13 September 2002.
In January 2006, the government created a National Law Enforcement Center within the framework of the South European Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM (created by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). According to these plans, each GUAM country assumes responsibility to coordinate joint measures to combat a particular crime, the obligation assumed by Moldova being to coordinate the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration. The newly established National Law Enforcement Center SECI/GUAM in Moldova closely cooperates with: the SECI Regional Centre for Combating Trans-border Crime from Bucharest; the National Law Enforcement Centers of the GUAM member states; similar institutions in the field, at the national and international level; NGOs operating at the national and international level, including, International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Center for Combating Trafficking in Persons Moldova (CCTIP), and “La Strada” International Centre.
On 19 May 2006, Moldova ratified the “Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings,”a comprehensive treaty mainly focused on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguarding of their rights. The treaty aims to prevent trafficking and prosecute traffickers. The convention applies to all forms of trafficking, whether national or transnational, whether or not related to organized crime, and provides for the creation of an independent monitoring mechanism to guarantee States’ compliance with its provisions. From: Council of Europe, Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, 16 May 2005.
Winrock International and the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) created an Anti-Trafficking and Gender Network website in order to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings; to prevent and combat domestic violence; to promote gender equality and women’s rights; to enhance identification, protection and assistance to victims and vulnerable persons; to support the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to support the observance of the rule of law. The website was launched in November 2006 and is updated on a regular basis.
In December 2008, Moldova approved the creation of the National Strategy of the Referral System of Protection and Assistance for Victims and Potential Victims of Human Trafficking for 2009-2011. This strategy aims to coordinate Moldova’s laws preventing and combating human trafficking with international treaty standards, to provide services for victims and potential victims of trafficking, to strengthen the institutional structure to combat trafficking, to develop a protection system of victims and witnesses of trafficking in humans, and to set up a data collection system regarding human trafficking and its prevention, among other objectives. In 2010, the first monitoring of the implementation of this Strategy was carried out by the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family. From: The Government of the Republic of Moldova, National Strategy of the Referral System of Protection and Assistance for Victims and Potential Victims of Human Trafficking and Action Plan on the Implementation of the Strategy 2009-2011, 12 March 2009.
The U.S. Department of State 2010 Human Rights Report on Moldova reports that slightly more than 12 percent of women in Moldova have been victims of sexual violence in their lifetime, with 7.1 percent experiencing it in the past year. These percentages are significantly higher among rural women, and also much higher among younger women. According to Moldova’s National Bureau of Statistics, there were 368 recorded cases of rape in 2010. From: National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova, Recorded Crimes, by Type of Crimes, 2000-2010, 2010. Of these reported cases, there were 311 criminal cases of rape, resulting in 138 prosecutions from January through November 2010, according to the U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report. The report did not include data on how many prosecutions resulted in convictions. From: U.S. Department of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Moldova, 8 April 2011.
Moldova criminalizes various forms of sexual assault in Chapter 4 of its Penal Code. These crimes are punishable by three categories of sentences depending on the severity of the crime: two to seven years’ imprisonment, five to fifteen years’ imprisonment, or ten to twenty-five years or life imprisonment. In particular, Article 171 criminalizes rape, 172 violent actions with a sexual character, 173 compelling sexual intercourse, 174 sexual intercourse with a minor under age 14, and 175 pervert actions with a minor under age 14. Furthermore, the law facilitates cooperation between the government and civil society organizations to better protect victims. From: U.S. Department of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Moldova, 8 April 2011.
After Moldova filed its second periodic report to CEDAW, the Committee listed main concerns in its Concluding Comments, including the fact that the Penal Code does not expressly include marital rape in the definition of rape. In response, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova said that the rape definition includes “the notion [of] ‘conjugal rape’” and so criminalizes marital rape by a wife or husband.
Prostitution itself is not a crime under the Penal Code, but it is subject to a civil fine and administrative detention for up to 30 days. Pimping is a crime under Article 220 of the Penal Code, and is punishable by prison sentences from two to five or four to seven years, depending on the nature of the crime. Please also see the Trafficking in Women section (above) for related information.
An employer is only allowed to dismiss an employee for one of the several reasons listed in Article 86 of the 2003 Labour Code (PDF, 134 pages, page 46), thus preventing arbitrary dismissal that could have been the result of sexual harassment or gender discrimination. Moldova’s National Action Plan for 2004 – 2008 also included the goal of “eliminat[ing] sexism and discrimination [and] stereotyp[ing] images of men and women” in its chapter on ensuring women’s rights. In July 2010, Moldova passed amendments to the penal code that criminalize sexual harassment. Punishment ranges from a fine to a maximum of two years in prison. In particular “sexual advances that affect a person’s dignity or create an unpleasant, hostile, degrading, or humiliating environment in a workplace or educational institution” are outlawed by the new amendments. From: U.S. Department of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Moldova, 8 April 2011.
CEDAW’s 2006 Concluding Comments on Moldova commended the government for including notions of sexual harassment in the Law on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. However, the Committee found that the law had not been fully implemented, the government had not funded implementation, and the law lacked enforcement mechanisms. From: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Comment of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Republic of Moldova, 25 August 2006. A 2006 shadow report to CEDAW had the same conclusion. The report also said that there were no official sources of information on sexual harassment toward women in the work place. Instead, they posted data from unofficial NGO polls of women in business, conducted by the Institute of Marketing and Sociological Analyses (IMAS) & Winrock International in 2005. The polling questions ranged from minor to major incidents of harassment. Among other findings, 48% of the women polled had experienced inappropriate looks by a man in the workplace or school, 22% had experienced inappropriate touching, and 3% had experienced attempted forced sexual relations. From: Women Organization’s Forum from the Republic of Moldova, The Alternative Report of Evaluation Regarding the Implementation of CEDAW, 2006.
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