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April 2022

WAGE Moldova Policy Advocacy Needs Assessment


The analysis included is based on 30 respondents across a range of backgrounds and perspectives such as civil society organization representatives, public institution representatives, women’s business association members, business association members, and women entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs account for half of the respondents in this assessment. Questions within the online survey focused on opportunities and challenges to start and maintain business for women entrepreneurs, legal barriers for women entrepreneurs, ability of women entrepreneurs to access loans and other ways to finance their business, gender-based violence issues and workplace discrimination issues for women in Moldova. Key informant interview questions dived deeper into the previously mentioned topics and probed respondents for their thoughts on what the Alliance could do to address these issues and who the key players in Moldova are on these topics. Respondent recommendations are indicated at the end of each topic section. All respondents participated in a key informant interview and completed the online survey as it was necessary to have their qualitative and quantitative feedback across both data collection instruments to produce an evidence-based report. Data collection was conducted from November 2021 – December 2021. Interviews were conducted in Romanian and Russian and then translated into English. Quotes from respondents included in the report are from the transcribed and translated interviews. CIPE and ABA ROLI identified key informants in consultation with their staff members, local partners, members of the Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova, and other relevant stakeholders. Additional key informants were also identified based on the recommendations of the respondents identified by CIPE and ABA ROLI at the conclusion of the interview using the nonprobability snowball sampling technique. Survey percentages were generated via the online survey platform used to collect the survey data. To ensure that the qualitative findings included in the report had reached the saturation point, it was imperative to ensure a minimum of 30 respondents were contacted during the data collection period.

Executive Summary

This report is broken into four key sections – challenges for women entrepreneurs, barriers to business growth for women entrepreneurs, and gender-based violence as well as workplace discrimination issues impacting Moldovan women.

Major challenges for women entrepreneurs were identified across various economic and sociocultural fronts such as:

  1. No initial personal funding to start a business
  2. Lack of awareness of external funding resources
  3. Difficulty receiving bank loans
  4. Lack of confidence in business acumen
  5. Lack of support and household/caregiving responsibilities

The top challenges impeding business growth for women entrepreneurs in Moldova were identified as:

  1. Bureaucracy to obtain authorizations and licenses
  2. Lack of access to credit and other financing
  3. Lack of financial assets, material assets or property for loan collateral
  4. Lack of work-life balance
  5. Household chores and family care responsibilities
  6. High level of taxation for small businesses (which is the category most women-owned enterprises fall under)
  7. High cost to rent and/or own business office space

Gender-based violence was noted as an issue which impacts all Moldovan woman. The most common forms of gender-based violence experienced were noted as physical and psychological violence. There also seems to be a lot of hesitancy around reporting gender-based violence related crimes to the appropriate authorities and seeking services needed to rebuild after dealing with a gender-based violence trauma. Respondents did not indicate that there was any difference in services or programs provided for women entrepreneurs who have experienced gender-based violence in comparison with women in Moldova who do not identify as entrepreneurs.

The top challenges connected to workplace discrimination for women in Moldova were denoted as:

  1. Access to “feminine” jobs due to gender
  2. Dificulties in being hired due to younger age
  3. Difficulties in being hired due to older age
  4. Unclear internal workplace regulations related to harassment and discrimination
  5. Lack of opportunities for promotion and/or advancement in the workplace
  6. Lack of accommodations provided by the employer for breastfeeding mothers/parents with small children

Each section also details the key stakeholders in Moldova who currently work on these issues that the Alliance could consider partnering with to begin addressing these issues along with relevant respondent suggestions on viable action items.

Read the Report

The Policy Advocacy Needs Assessment was prepared by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) under the “Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Moldova” project (WAGE Moldova) as part of the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI). The findings from this needs assessment will inform policy recommendations and coalition priorities for the forthcoming Women’s Legislative Agenda which will be drafted and put into action by the Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova. The Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova is an informal network of business associations, women’s business associations and women’s civil society organizations, whose mission is to contribute to reducing barriers to women's economic development and empowerment. The Women’s Legislative Agenda is a WAGE Moldova activity which will highlight the evidence-based changes needed to improve Moldovan women’s economic success.

The statements and analysis contained in the report “Preliminary Gender & Inclusion Analysis for Moldova” are the work of the Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) consortium, led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation, and Search for Common Ground (Search). The Board of Governors of the American Bar Association (ABA) has neither reviewed nor sanctioned its content. Accordingly, the views expressed in the report should not be construed as representing the policy of the ABA. Furthermore, nothing contained in this report is to be considered rendering legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel.

This publication was funded by the United States Department of State through a grant provided to the WAGE consortium. All opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the United States Government, WAGE, or any members of the WAGE consortium.

About WAGE

Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global consortium to advance the status of women and girls, led by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) in close partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Grameen Foundation, and Search for Common Ground (Search). WAGE works to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector organizations (PSOs) in target countries to improve the prevention of and response to gender-based violence; advance the women, peace and security agenda; and support women’s economic empowerment. In this context, WAGE provides direct assistance to women and girls, including information, resources, and services they need to succeed as active and equal participants in the global economy and public life. WAGE also engages in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices in these thematic areas. To account for the deeply interconnected nature of women’s and girls’ experiences, WAGE’s initiatives employ approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, and inclusive. WAGE is funded by the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.