Roma women make history
In the 25 years since independence, not a single Roma woman had ever run for office in the Republic of Moldova until history was made in 2015. Two Roma women won seats in local elections and a record seven ran for office. One successful candidate was 28-year-old Laura Bosnea. When she first decided to run, local political party leaders advised her not to bother as women were better suited to be home with their children or working in the bazaar rather than in politics. While the Roma are highly marginalized as a community, Roma women also face deep gender discrimination.
Bosnea, who had earlier left law school after marrying, had aspirations of her own. Already active as a community leader, she turned to a UN Women-supported pre-election training programme to learn skills related to public speaking, fundraising and image management. “I thought it would be difficult to run…,” she says. “But with the encouragement of the programme it was much easier than I expected.”
She and the other new councillor, Varvara Duminica, 54, are enthusiastic about what they can achieve in their four-year terms. They speak of better educating youth and ensuring people can make a decent living. The councillors intend to take every opportunity to raise awareness around gender equality and get more women into decision-making to improve life for all Moldovans.