In June and July of 2007, the Initiative’s Moldova office conducted two trainings to promote the rights of young women and to inform teens about Moldova’s gender equality law. The law entered into force in March 2006 and is not yet widely known in Moldova. The trainings were held at the Regional Support Centers of Winrock International’s New Perspectives for Women Project in Balti and Soroca in northern Moldova. The centers’ primary activities focus on reducing the vulnerability of young women to human trafficking, an issue on which the Initiative frequently collaborates with Winrock. Twenty-five girls between the ages of 16 and 26 attended the Balti training. A mixed group of ten girls and twelve boys between the ages of 16 and 21 attended the Soroca training, where they had the opportunity to ask each other questions and debate face-to-face about gender roles and responsibilities in society, the family, business and employment.
Participants explored different concepts about gender stereotypes and discrimination, using creative interactive exercises led by Romanian expert trainer Dina Loghin, including gender image collages and mapping a path to “Gender Equality Land.” They learned about the rights afforded by the gender equality law and received a booklet prepared by Initiative Legal Assistant Dina Mocan. The booklet defines gender equality, sex discrimination, and sexual harassment in plain language and outlines where to find free legal assistance in case of employment discrimination and other violations of the law. The booklet will also be the basis of a “Know Your Rights” brochure to be distributed throughout Moldova by the Initiative’s advocacy partners. Winrock International filmed the entire Soroca training for future use in trainings and for its monthly educational television program, Destinies and Destinations.
The trainings were part of the Moldova office’s gender activities following up on its launch of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Assessment report in November 2006 and Human Trafficking Assessment Tool in June 2005, both available on the Initiative’s website. These reports revealed that women in Moldova lack equal opportunities in family, economic, social and health matters and face high levels of violence and abuse within the family. Mocan organized the trainings and prepared the booklet as part of the second phase of her participation in the February 2007 regional program on women’s rights at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Sweden, sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.