Friday, March 8, 2013



Press Release

It’s time to address the increasing gender inequality faced by Roma women and ensure their active participation in society

8 March 2013

On the International Women’s Day ERIO and Drom Kotar Mestipen call for a focus on the position of Roma women as they suffer from multiple discriminations and social exclusion, both as women and as members of the Roma community. Their lack of education1 due to school absenteeism, segregated schooling, low expectations and racism towards Roma children and the non-inclusion of the Roma culture and contributions in school curricula are some of the factors causing Roma women to be socially and economically excluded and deprived of future employment opportunities.

As the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 states, there is a need to strengthen links with communities, churches and associations through active participation of Roma parents, to improve the intercultural competences of teachers, to reduce segregation and to ensure compliance with the duty to primary school attendance.

Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director notes that “the low educational level of many Roma women is one of the main factors for their social exclusion and poverty. Education is an effective tool to empower Roma women, promote their economic development and active participation in society.

This should be coupled with actions to tackle anti-Roma discrimination to have an effect on the diminished opportunities and poverty that Roma women face”.

Roma women face an increased risk of poverty. We call on the European Commission to ensure that member states implement sufficient measures to address the problems faced by Roma women. We also call on member states to ensure the participation of Roma women in the implementation and monitoring of the National Roma Integration Strategies.

Ana Contreras Fernandez, President of Romani Association of Women Drom Kotar Mestipen states that “In the last years, despite the multiples inequalities we encountered, Romani women have created associations, have actively participated in seminars and conferences where we have claimed our rights and made our voices heard which are many times silenced. Roma are changing mainly thanks to Romani women (grandmothers, mothers and daughters) who have taken a step forward, without leaving aside their most rooted customs, in order to vindicate our most basic rights as full citizens with differences to be respected and dreams to be fulfilled: the dream that our children live in equal terms as the rest of society. It is the responsibility of all of us that this dream becomes a reality.”

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