Roma Women from all walks of life are preparing for the Congress. They are gathering in their communities to discuss the issues that most matter to them and are brainstorming together to come up with practical solutions to those identified issues. Here the project partner NGO KHAM Delcevo– Macedonia are supporting some of the women from their communities to dialogically prepare materials for the Congress.
The NGO KHAM Delcevo from Macedonia has had various meetings in numerous settings and some of the main themes discussed are the Image of the Roma Woman, Education, Health and the Roma Women’s Feminist Movement. More concretely the women were saying that they felt represented as houswives, were seen as “behind the man”, subordinate, vulnerable during conflicts and agreed that active participation in public and political life, having more positive presentation of Roma traditions and more role models of educated Roma women would all help redefine the Roma woman image.
Solidarity was another key theme that emerged and Education was heavily discussed. For the community it was discussed that Workshops with adult Roma women was important as well as promotion of positive examples. Including the family in the school system and environment were also deemed critical if educational success and coexistence was to take place. Reader clubs, motivational workshops, and participation of Roma mothers during some big event in the school whom provide aid to the teachers, were all examples of ways the families could get involved and support the school-home family life.
Health was another topic that was discussed, and an issue that was looked at were early pregnancies. A list of the reasons why early pregnancies take place was complied: Lack of education, extreme poverty, tradition, unemployment, gender discrimination during the upbringing, institutional ignorance or approval. And the consequences of this, as seen through the eyes of the women consulted were: Sexual infection, smaller concurrency in the labour market, interruption of the education process, economic dependency and poverty.
As a closing topic the Roma Feminist Movement was closely looked at and it was agreed that advancing the gender perspective in all socio-spheres was a important. Elimination of the gender based violence through including the women in all public sphere, promoting gender equality in schools, sexual education for ending the early marriages and revising marriage laws that are institutionally biased against women was critical, and legal representation of women was the final point stressed.
Overall, the Roma women from the grassroots community were engaged in various dialogic communicative discussions which allowed them the opportunity to reflect, discuss, share and collectively offer solutions to the varying issues that they face.
The Alternative Innovative Development A.I.D. Greek partners created a video “No Hate to Roma Women” as part of the Council of Europe’s #NoHateSpeech Campaign.