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Roma people have been an integral part of European civilization for centuries. There are more than 10 million Roma people living in Europe and as approximately 6 million Roma live in the EU, most of them are EU citizens[1]. Roma population is one of the biggest minorities in the Europe and because of numerous deprivations, the majority is vulnerable.

Many Roma still face prejudice, intolerance and social exclusion in their daily lives. They are facing with a low education level, high unemployment rate and discrimination in all areas (education, employment, health care and housing).

According to some surveys implemented on EU level, 44% of the total adult Roma population (over age 15) have not completed primary school and only 24% of them has attained at least a secondary level education[2]. In the field of employment many Roma face the dire situation: 58% of young Roma people are neither in employment nor in training or education[3]. Because of that the poverty rate increases, and what is even more concerning, the poverty is intensively transmitted between generations. Education / life-long learning is one of a key measure on the path toward appropriate qualification, employment and consequently the way out of poverty and social exclusion. It is necessary to pay a special attention to the Roma, who are often victims of multiple marginalization – Roma women.

Women through the EU still face inequalities in almost all core areas of social life (education, employment, health…). The average situation of Roma women is even worse than that of Roma men. Woman in general are still the key drivers of a larger share of family responsibilities. They are playing important and central role in their families, ensuring and providing support to all family members, raising children and takin care of children’s’ education, social development and inclusion. The situation is worrying with the regard to the Roma women. They are playing their family role and run a household that may lack of basic amenities such as indoor kitchen, toilet, shower or bath, electricity or other facilities that are taken for granted across Europe. Such difficult conditions, coupled with lack of financial resources and employment opportunities usually increase the likelihood of domestic violence and conflict[4]. Their low educational attainment in general is still remains a concern and with lower employment opportunities are more often victims of social exclusion in general and in their own society. Fighting the poverty, raising educational level, reducing unemployment rate and ensuring adequate housing conditions and basic infrastructure seem crucial to empowering Roma women to access the labor market and become economically independent[5].

 

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/roma/index_en.htm

[2]Health and the Roma Community, analysis of the situation in Europe, 2008

[3]Roma survey – Data in focus Poverty and employment: the situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States, FRA 2014

[4] European women's LOBBY , Position paper, 2012

[5]Roma survey – Data in focus Discrimination against and living conditions of Roma Women in 11 EU Member States, FRA 2014

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