Only when there is true equality between men and women, can family truly flourish

15 May 2020

There are five more days until the youngest member of the Diaconu family, Petrică, will celebrate his birthday. He dreamed of a big party at a playground with his friends from kindergarten, but Covid-19 changed their plans. Petrică will celebrate his 6th birthday at home, with his family, together with two older sisters - Gabriela and Mihaela. The coronavirus pandemic has come with challenges and changes for many families in Moldova and around the world. But experience shows that when household work and responsibilities are shared equally between partners, any challenge may be overcome and the family remains strong and healthy. This is also the case of the Diaconu family from Chisinau.



„We always support each other”


Olga and Alexei have been together for 16 years and have three children. They would like to have more but were stopped by economic insecurity in the country. They had a small business in a town in the north of Moldova, where they lived until recently, but they had to give it up. For two years, the Diaconu family moved to Chisinau to offer their children more opportunities, but also because Olga managed to change her job and do what she likes most - programming. The decision to leave the life they ​​had in Riscani and to start everything from scratch in the capital was taken after many family discussions and sacrifices from everyone. Olga moved first, and Alexei stayed home with the children, taking over all the responsibilities of the mother. It was a year of challenges and efforts for the whole family.


"I commuted Chisinau - Riscani all year. On Friday evening I would go home and return to Chisinau on Monday morning. Sometimes, I would leave in the middle of the week, in the evening after work, and return the next morning. I wanted to see them for at least a few hours, so I could say good night to them before bed. It was a difficult year, but we had to take this step so that we could offer the children more ", says Olga. And she says that without her husband's involvement and support, she would not have been able to overcome this moment. "I have always been involved at home in everything that needs to be done. And we always support each other in everything we do. It wasn't easy at all, but we did it. Today, our children study at good schools and have the opportunity to follow their passions , says Alexei.


The eldest daughter, Mihaela, is in the 3rd grade and after school she goes to singing classes. She has a beautiful voice and likes to sing and dance. Gabriela is in the second grade and does painting. Petrică is the youngest and always has initiatives. He says he wants another little brother so he won't be in the minority in the family. Now, since they are isolated, they miss their colleagues and teachers very much.



During quarantine, they shared the tasks 


Even during quarantine a day has as many hours and the needs of the family have not changed. Mornings start with gymnastics. Alexei is a sports coach and he also does homework with the children and stays with them while the online lessons take place. Meanwhile, Olga works at the makeshift office on the balcony. The biggest and greatest change is that they finally manage to eat together for lunch. They shared their tasks. Olga cooks, and Alexei does homework with the children and does the cleanup. They do everything together, so they manage to have time for games that have become a pleasant rule every night, as long as walks in the park or at the zoo have been banned. "If my husband hadn't been so involved, I would have been exhausted, I wouldn't have managed them all, and it would have affected my entire family and my productivity at work", admits Olga.


Children love to see their parents doing things together. "I like that my mother is very smart and helps me, and she is beautiful and cooks tasty, and I like that she loves my father, and my father loves my mother and he is strong," says Gabriela. "But I like it when we play together", adds Mihaela. "I like it when my mother makes us pizza", says Petrică and then everyone shouts in the choir that they want to go to the sea. Because the summer will be hot and the coronavirus will leave us. And if not, they will go to the grandparents from Hiliuți where inflatable pools are waiting for them.



Equal involvement benefits everyone


The Analysis of the situation of the population in the Republic of Moldova, done by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), shows that in Moldovan society there are still misconceptions, according to which a woman has the responsibility to take care of the family, while the man is expected to contribute financially. The financial contribution of women to the household budget, the fact that she is also employed and that family responsibilities must be shared equally, is often neglected. 


In her message dedicated to the International Day of Families, Alanna Armitage, the UNFPA Regional Director, states that “families become stronger and healthier when both partners, regardless of gender and age, contribute to family life. Unfortunately, we are far from equal participation in the family. But we are glad to see some positive trends, as more men get involved in family activities. This behavior benefits everyone – families, employers, and society at large.”


Alexei Diaconu, who is also a hero of the #MenEngage campaign, launched by UNFPA and UN Women Moldova, as a response to the COVID19 pandemic, is a strong example of that. "Few men are involved in household chores and child care, focusing more on the financial part. I get involved in everything at home, because it seems natural to me to do that”, he says.





The International Day of Families was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 1993, and since 1995, Family Day has been celebrated in many countries, including the Republic of Moldova, to raise public awareness and emphasize the importance of family.