Women entrepreneurs, business leaders and decision makers from Moldova spotlight the positive impact of women in business

Over 100 decision-makers, representatives from the business sector, and industry-leading companies with strong commitments to promoting gender equality and reducing gender gaps throughout the value chain convened for the second consecutive year within the annual national conference “#SheSupplies: Economic empowerment of women by promoting gender-responsive procurement,” dedicated to the Women’s Empowerment Principles and organized by UN Women Moldova with the financial support of Sweden. The conference, held on 20 October 2023, was followed by the Women Local Producers’ Fair, entitled “Local. Natural. Sustainable,” from 21st to 22nd October 2023 as part of the Regional Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO 2023.

During the event, business representatives had the opportunity to gain useful knowledge on gender-responsive procurement and sourcing practices, establish valuable connections with industry experts, initiate potential collaborations, explore ways to strengthen companies’ commitments to gender equality in supply chains, and participate in discussions on best practices and innovative solutions. This year’s conference focused on Principle no. 5 – Implement Enterprise Development, Supply Chain and Marketing Models that Empower Women.

In her welcoming speech, Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova’s Country Representative, highlighted studies suggesting that gender-responsive procurement positively impacts profit and return on investment. “That’s what matters to business,” she explained. “And for us, this also means promoting gender equality.”

Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova Country Representative, at the annual national conference “#SheSupplies: Economic empowerment of women by promoting gender-responsive procurement". Photo: UN Women Moldova/Stela Donțu

She underscored the support of Moldova’s Parliament, the government, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development and Digitalization, as well as representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Embassy of Sweden by joining the event and promoting gender equality. “I can’t wait to see you at the women local producers’ fair. This event is a great opportunity to support them and buy natural and sustainable products from them,” concluded Dominika Stojanoska.

Marina Morozova, a Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, noted Moldova’s considerable advancements in promoting gender equality and ensuring women’s rights. She emphasized  that the gender quota for women in Parliament has changed the institution’s agenda. “The presence of women in decision-making positions has a significant impact on all processes, including budgeting. That is why it is crucial to include women in the procurement chain in both the public and private sectors. I am very happy that we will have the opportunity to discuss how we can support women local producers together so that they benefit from a market,” affirmed Marina Morozova.

Katarina Fried, Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova, explained that gender-responsive procurement is not only necessary for promoting gender equality but will also propel Moldova’s accession to the European Union. “Now is the best time to implement this principle,” she said. “Gender-responsive procurement benefits the public, private and state sectors. They streamline spending, helping to diversify the supply chain and support underrepresented businesses,” pointed out the Ambassador of Sweden to Moldova.

The conference participants joined discussion panels addressing two essential topics: the national public procurement system from the women’s empowerment perspective and the involvement of the private sector in shaping a gender-sensitive public procurement system.

Following the conference, the Women Local Producers’ Fair took place in central Chișinău, at the Metropolitan Cathedral Park. The fair hosted nearly 100 women entrepreneurs, including refugees from Ukraine, who presented and sold unique products, from special gifts and traditional items to delicious snacks.

Women Local Producers' Fair hosted nearly 100 women entrepreneurs. Photo: UN Women Moldova/Stela Donțu

The fair became a showcase for Moldovan women entrepreneurs, offering a platform to exhibit a variety of authentic products, from honey, tea, and bee products to nuts, chocolates, cheeses, sausages, and more. Moreover, the event fostered connections among local women producers, offering unique networking opportunities.

“We came to this fair of women local producers with a new product that we launched in Moldova, namely hand-crocheted shoes,” said Valentina Pănuță, an entrepreneur from Hîncești and the founder of TROPO Shoes. “I am very glad I had the opportunity to participate in this fair because it enabled us to promote our locally made product, allowing us to put our ideas into practice,” said the woman entrepreneur.

The conference and the fair took place within the regional initiative Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO 2023, with the support of UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, the Embassy of Sweden and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.