“Economic sterilization” of women and the escalation of the political crisis in Moldova

On December 01, the Eastern office of Solidaritätsnetz International addressed with a review letter to The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, the OSCE, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the European External Action Service. For the Russian-speaking audience, a briefing was given with explanations of the positions of the Eastern Office of Solidaritätsnetz International, with which the central Board of our Organization agrees.

It is well known that the Swiss Government finances a number of programs in Moldova and is a financial donor to Chisinau.

1) An indefinite protest action has been taking place in Chisinau since mid-September this year. People are dissatisfied with rising prices for gas, electricity and food. The organizers of the rallies demand the resignation of the president and the government, and as a result, early election.

On October 14, 2022, the Moldovan authorities decided to ban rallies that block lanes, transport arteries or access roads to government institutions on weekdays

Through this measure, the government is trying to stop the opposition protests that have been taking place since September 18 in front of the legislature and the presidency, which involve thousands of citizens who are dissatisfied with the power of President Maia Sandu.

President Maia Sandu has called for increased police powers to stop the protests, which she says are destabilizing the country and trying to sway the government in favor of Russia’s interests. For their part, the protesters are making social demands, accusing the government of not negotiating a gas deal with Russia, and demanding the resignation of Maia Sandu, the government, and the dissolution of parliament.

While the authorities claim that there is no discrimination based on race, nationality or religion in Moldova, representatives of human rights organizations record the opposite. The population and human rights specialists in the Republic of Moldova consider discrimination to be a widespread problem. In most cases, the respondents we interviewed did not go to court or to the specially created “Council for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Equality” after the act of discrimination itself. At the same time, every second respondent stated that the Moldovan justice system is not ready to deal with cases of discrimination. Our Organization interviewed 500 people.

The public authorities in Chisinau, instead of dialogue, have chosen the path of suppressing dissent, justifying themselves by an armed clash in a neighboring country.

2) The Republic of Moldova ranks 29th out of 146 countries in the Gobal Gender Index of gender equality. However, despite the progress, prejudices and the phenomenon of discrimination against women persist in Moldovan society.

Although women and men are equal before the law, this equality does not manifest itself when it comes to opportunities and social life. Women experience pay discrimination when they do a large workload without financial pay, when they are unable to leave their children to find a good job. Women with disabilities are discriminated against.

To date, the wage gap between women and men is 14% or 17 thousand lei per year; in other words, women need two extra months of work in 2022 to match the previous year’s earnings for men.

At the same time, global progress in advancing the rights of women and girls is slowing down. At the current pace of development, it may take about half a century to achieve gender equality. The following factors were noted as reasons for such a slowdown in the process: the coronavirus pandemic, its consequences, armed conflicts, climate change, and the non-recognition of women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health. And these are just some of them.

UN Women and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) have released a joint report stating the sad fact that by 2030 the goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls will not be achieved.

Similar tendencies are also observed in Moldova. The pension reform bill, initiated by the Action and Solidarity party founded by Moldovan President Maia Sandu, discriminates against women who become mothers; in the first reading, a draft law, according to which the retirement age for all citizens will be raised to 63 years, and the length of service will be set at 34 years for men and 32 for women. Maternity leave will not be included in this length of service, and women, in order to retire earlier than the established age, must refuse to give birth to children. The length of service also does not include the period of study and days of illness, which are formalized as a period of temporary work capacity.

“Economic sterilization of women”, namely the creation of conditions that will limit the right to give birth to a child by financial and social methods, is a direct and blatant violation of gender equality.

The regime of President Maia Sandu Carries out an anti-social policy, trying to correct its economic faux pas at the expense of women’s reproductive rights, which is unacceptable in modern society.

Solidaritätsnetz International from the European and Central Asian Section of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights received feedback on our previous report. In their letter dated November 28, the Section thanked us for the information and confirmed that they are closely following the development of the human rights situation in Moldova.

Solidaritätsnetz International will continue to demand decisive diplomatic steps from Swiss and European institutions.

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