Hearing on the gender dimension

Eurodiaconia, ERIO and EESC Hearing "Roma Inclusion: Exploring the gender dimension"

21 October 2015, Brussels
Eurodiaconia organised in close cooperation with ERIO its hearing titled “Roma Inclusion: Exploring the gender dimension” on the 21st of October 2015, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.  The aim of the hearing was to raise awareness about the particular challenges Roma women are facing across Europe when it comes to accessing education or employment, and making their voices heard in the political arena. The current situation of Roma women was first examined by representatives of the European Commission, FRA and civil society. It was stated that gender based violence is a major issue facing the community. Moreover, the Roma women are still struggling when attempting to take financial decisions. When it comes to education, there is an improvement in the statistics but a high dropout rate is still present.

The hearing discussed positive practices to empower Roma women. As a good practice, ERIO’s policy officer Marta Pinto presented the project KEYROMA funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme. ERIO was involved as partner in this 2-year project which aimed to boost the socio-economic integration of Roma women through adult education and to increase their chances on the labour market (particularly the service sector). A learning module was developed with the Roma women which included units on attitudes, skills, knowledge and mediation aimed to increase their participation in the service sector. The module is available in seven languages and can be downloaded here.

Strategies to empower Roma women were then discussed. MEP Damian Draghici spoke on the insecurity and violence facing his Roma community. He also explained to the participants the normalization of domestic violence amongst the Roma. During the session it was continually stated that the Roma women already have will power but are greatly restricted by both the Roma and non-Roma communities. Furthermore, it was discussed that the Roma women need to take control of running projects and positions of leadership to realize their potential. Through the empowerment of Roma women, the Roma community as a whole will develop across all fields.

The hearing brought out key points of highlighting the hidden potential amongst the Roma women and promoting social inclusion with anti-discrimination actions.

Report (by Eurodiaconia)

Presentations from the conference:
Marta Pinto, ERIO
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