Meet 12 change-makers pushing for women’s empowerment

From supporting women’s economic empowerment to combating violence and discrimination, these changemakers are working across Europe and Central Asia to bridge gender gaps in legislation and on the ground.

 Mihaela Spataru is a Member of Parliament in the Republic of Moldova and one of the founders of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.

“I don’t believe women are better than men or that men are better than women. There are simply no jobs that a woman cannot do.”

“I’ve been a Member of Parliament for three years. I work on national security, defence and internal affairs, all very traditionally masculine domains.

I am happy to see more and more women getting involved in internal affairs and defenceand I would like to see more of them involved in conflict resolution.

We are only 21 women parliamentarians. So we founded the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus to promote gender equality initiatives. The Caucus was instrumental in introducing a 40 percent quota for women on political party lists in national and local elections. But I hope in 10 years, we won’t need a quota anymore. I would like for equality to become business as usual.”

- Mihaela Spataru, Moldova


Guljahon Bobosadykova is the chairperson of the From Equality De-Jure to Equality De-Facto coalition and a well-known gender equality expert in Tajikistan.

“As soon as I finished secondary school, my father wanted to arrange my marriage.

Luckily, my mother insisted that I continue my education. It was her wisdom and courage that allowed me to go to university and eventually become a professor.

Many girls still do not have such support from their families and are not free to choose their path in life. 

Our coalition of NGOs is working with the UN, the Parliament and the Government to make changes in the national legislation on early marriages and domestic violence. We are also lobbying to increase quotas in higher education for young women from rural areas.

Through our efforts, we were able to raise the age of marital consent from 17 to 18. But this is only the beginning of our journey.”

- Guljahon Bobosadykova, Tajikistan


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