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Nighina Abaszada: Small shifts in the private sector can have huge implications for families, businesses, and societies at large

Changes in the private sector can have huge impact when companies create family friendly workplaces and support new business models. Thus, private companies help influence both government policies as well as how societies perceive gender equality and family-friendly workplaces, Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Resident Representative in Moldova, said.

According to her, the private sector is a critical partner in catalyzing sustainable development. Small shifts within the business model, daily operations, staff practices, or external communications can have huge implications for families, businesses, and societies at large, Nighina Abaszada emphasized in the opening of the Webinar on creating family-friendly and gender inclusive workplaces – an international perspective for Moldova.

The webinars conducted within the Project “Expanding Choices: Gender-Responsive Family Policies for the Private Sector in the Western Balkans and Moldova” provide significant support for local companies in assessing the needs to become family friendly using international business expertise and the lessons learned on piloting family friendly workplaces, said Gunther Zimmer, Head of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) Coordination Office in Chisinau, the agency which supports this regional initiative implemented by UNFPA.Sergiu Harea, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Moldova, mentioned the interest of local companies to apply best practices. “We will move to a new phase by creating a national dialogue platform where we will propose adjusting the legislation with family friendly and gender sensitive policies,” Sergiu Harea said.

The first in a series of webinars that will take place this autumn, the webinar was attended by representatives of 60 Moldovan companies, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, including 5 champion companies which implement family friendly policies: Orange Moldova, Asena Textil, Panilino, Fidesco and Premier Energy Distribution, but also by companies from Kosovo and by representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.
L’Oréal representatives presented the company’s programmes that empower their employees to fulfil personal and career aspirations. Investments in personnel are very important because only engaged and committed employees can ensure sustainable growth of a company. Even though it is hard to monetize the efficiency of such programmes, family friendly programmes and programmes to support women help recruit best professionals on the market, improves the company’s image and increases work performance.

Martin Roch, Head of Economic Development Cooperation, Swiss Cooperation Office in Moldova, shared his personal experience in job-sharing and provided an overview on family friendly practices in Swiss public institutions. According to him, Swiss legislation allows for various work models which provide vast employment opportunities and enables each person to ensure work-life balance to meet everyone’s priorities.

This webinar opened a series of events scheduled to take place this autumn and was organized within the Project “Expanding Choices: Gender-Responsive Family Policies for the Private Sector in the Western Balkans and Moldova”, funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and implemented by the UNFPA in partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection and with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

These activities support systemic interventions in the country to respond to new demographic realities helping families and couples meet their child expectations through gender equality policies and better opportunities to ensure work-life balance. Expanding choices through gender-responsive family policies is an initiative which seeks to raise awareness about knowledge, ideas, strategies and tools for private sector companies, the Government and society at large.