Education for Roma women:

some progress, but still a long road ahead!

2nd Newsletter of our project: Promoting the integration of Roma women (PROMA)

Over the past 3 months we conducted research in all the 4 implementing countries. We were interested in finding the real needs of Roma women when it comes to education and to identify the best practices for promoting their education.

Here are the main conclusions of our research:

Romania – Conclusions and recommendations:

Overall, the educational system is in a very bad shape in Romania – however, Roma children and, in particular, Roma girls are especially affected. Girls are trapped in traditional roles and the system does not provide them with the necessary (financial and personal development) support to break away from traditional roles. Teachers are usually lacking qualifications for addressing the systemic problems and they are not equipped in any way in creating an inclusive, safe space in schools.

Roma Women in Albania - Photo by UNDP Europe

 Roma Women – Photo by UNDP Europe and CIS

There is a high need for remedial and literacy classes but also for financial and healthy food classes. Importance should be given to personal development (self-esteem, confidence, optimistic projections of the future) and there should be stressed the importance of role models for these young girls. Young mothers are also an important group which sneed assistance with kindergarten for their children, remedial classes for themselves, and support for accessing the job market.

Spain – Conclusions and recommendations:

When asked, educators and activists replied in an overwhelming percentage that it is very important that Roma women have access to information (e.g. 66,67% of the representative of NGOs consider it as extremely important) and that it is  highly important to address the educational needs of Roma women.

Ten Roma women of different ages were interviewed in relation to their educational needs. The women interviewed highlighted the importance of trainings on motivation and self-esteem. The second most requested topic was the history of Roma women, especially in relation to positive role models, as well as courses on the prevention of gender violence. Finally, another aspect to take into account is the labour market, so many of them want training courses to improve their employability.

Greece – Conclusions and recommendations:

The Greek Roma community faces persistent inequalities in all aspects of life, including access to education of Roma children, the right to housing and to other basic social goods, let alone the excessive exercise of police violence.

According to the results of the EU-MIDIS Survey , the Greek Roma are found in the most disadvantaged position in terms of education. 35% of the Roma interviewed in Greece were found to be illiterate. Most of them are women. According to the findings of a European research, unemployment among Greek Roma population stands at 61.7%, while most women (64.1%) are housewives. Roma women are often isolated, with minimal contact with the outside world, which further complicates the support of their needs.

North Macedonia – Conclusions and recommendations:

The Roma population, and in particular Roma women, face many barriers to accessing many services, from housing and health care, education and employment, to participation at the local and national levels. Based on this, we can conclude that access to information is very limited for Roma women.

Roma families struggle for survival and for meeting basic living needs, and as such they cannot prioritize education. Therefore, the poverty is considered as one of the main obstacles to the overall integration of Roma, especially of Roma women. However, noticeable progress can be observed in the field of education for Roma, within the Decade of Roma Inclusion. There are visible improvements in the overall enrollement of Roma children and youth in the education system, as well as in parents’ attitudes as to register their children in the education system

As for the political and civic participation, only one Roma woman is member of the parliament. The participation of Roma women in political parties is rather low.  However, It is interesting to mention that there are several well-known Roma civil society organizations which have Roma women as presidents or as executive directors.

Many thanks to all Roma organizations and Roma women from Romania, Spain, Greece and Northern Macedonia who were kind enough to take the time to answer the questions in our research.

This newsletter has been elaborated within the project PROMA – Promoting the integration of Roma women, funded by Erasmus+, Agreement number 2020-1-RO01-KA204-080214. The content of the newsletter represents the views of the authors only and is their sole responsibility. The newsletter is sent quarterly to the organizations in the databases of the partners in this project. This newsletter was drafted and disseminated in accordance with the GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation- European Regulation 2016/679 on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area.

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