6th International RomaWomen Conference
“Women and Political Representation: The Case of Roma and Traveller Women”
6-7 November 2017 (1 ½ day conference)
The representation of women in politics remains problematic. In comparison to the general population, the ratio of women in major political positions remains disproportionately low, except in Nordic countries where about 41% of MPs and Senators are women. Within that group, minority and marginalised women have minimal representation at all levels of government and are largely absent from key decision-making positions.
For example, with one exception, there are no Roma women represented in national parliaments and in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, there are no Roma, men or women, at all.
Women’s participation in decision-making is highly beneficial and their role in designing and applying public policies has a positive impact on people’s lives. When they become legislators, women are more actively involved and tend to advocate in more gender-salient issues: women’s health, reproductive rights, child care and the economy; are more responsive to constituents; are more focused on cooperation, less on hierarchy.
- In that context, the Council of Europe has long been promoting gender equality and although progress has been made in advancing women into decision-making roles, namely, in political ones, the target of 40% presentation (CM Recommendation (2003)3) is still far from reached. De facto, women from marginalised groups, including Roma women, are largely kept away from political life.
- The Congress Recommendation 390(2016) Women’s political participation and representation at local and regional levels, encourages governments to encourage and support the establishment of gender equality committees to advocate for women’s political participation and support women candidates and to consider adopting legislative reforms in order to implement quotas for candidates in elections.
- The PACE Resolution 2111(2016) Assessing the impact of measures to improve women’s political representation supports the principle of gender parity as the ultimate goal in political representation.
- The Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation (2003)3 calls on member states to adopt legislative reforms to introduce parity thresholds for candidates in elections at local, regional, national and supra-national levels.
A pledge by political parties/groups to promote gender equality and the participation of women from minority groups, in particular Roma and Traveller women, in decision-making bodies and in political representation at the next European, national, regional and local elections.
- Political parties will allocate 1 eligible place for Roma / Traveller women in a number of districts for local and national elections 2018-2019;
- 1 seat allocated per country to Roma /Traveller women in EU elections for 2019;
- Roma / Traveller women becoming members of political parties;
- Roma / Traveller women becoming beneficiaries of training;
- Roma /Traveller women working in partnership with NGOs and support institutions for elaborating their political platforms and organising campaigns.
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
SIXTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ROMA WOMEN’S POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL, REGIONAL, NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN ELECTIONS
6-7 November 2017
The Sixth International Conference of Roma Women organised by the Council of Europe and the Romanian Government will take place in Strasbourg, France on 6-7 November 2017.
Since 2003, the Roma Women’s conferences have provided the opportunity for Roma women to address, on the international stage, the issues affecting their own and their families’ lives. They have also provided a space where Roma women have kept each other informed of issues concerning them and exchanged experiences.
The Fifth International Conference took stock of the developments since the First International Conference of Roma Women and hosted policy oriented discussions in workshops focusing on the major Roma women’s issues identified at the Helsinki conference. One such issue was Romani women’s empowerment, including in political participation.
The Sixth International Conference will focus on the issue of political participation and aims at obtaining concrete endorsements of Roma women by mainstream political parties. It will examine how to ensure the eligibility of Roma women candidates in local, regional, national and European elections in 2018-2019 through national legislative changes. In that context, it will examine existing electoral quota systems for Roma and Travellers and how they could be transcribed into the legislation of our member States so as to increase the representation of Roma and Traveller women at all levels of government.
The Council of Europe will target countries which envisage elections in 2018 and 2019. Target countries include: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
Interpretation at the Conference will be provided in English, French, Romani. and Romanian.
If you are interested in speaking at the Conference and/or you are a Roma or Traveller woman interested in running as a candidate in elections at the local, regional, national or European level in 2018-2019, belong to one of the countries listed above, and would like to participate, you should first express your interest by sending your letter/e-mail of motivation and your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5 October 2017, in any of the above indicated languages. You will be contacted only if selected to attend the conference. Please note that any of the working languages indicated above constitute a basis for the selection criteria. Please keep in mind that not all those who apply will be able to attend the conference.
 The term “Roma and Traveller” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”. The present is an explanatory footnote, not a definition of Roma and/or Travellers.
Violence against women and children
Early, child or forced marriage, human trafficking and domestic violence
12-13 December 2016
Room G.2, Agora Building - Council of Europe, Strasbourg
- FINAL REPORT of the CAHROM thematic group of experts on addressing and combating human trafficking within Roma communities (with a focus on prostitution and street children)
- CAHROM thematic report on child/early and forced marriages within Roma communities
- Replies from member States to the Questionnaire on early/forced marriage in relation to trafficking of human beings (2015)
- Thematic Action Plan on the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers (2016-2019) English | French
- Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021)
- Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017
- ERTF/Phenjalipe paper on early and forced marriages
- Phenjalipe Strategy for the Advancement of Romani Women and Girls, 2014-2020 English | Romanes
- Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage
- ERRC report “Racial Discrimination, Deprivation, Segregation and Marginalisation as a Reinforcement of the Practice of Child Marriage” by Rita Sorina Sein
- ERRC Submission to the Joint CEDAW-CRC General Recommendation / Comment on Harmful Practices: Child Marriages among Roma (2011)
- ERRC submission to UN on Forced Arranged Marriage of Minors Among Traditional Romani Communities in Europe (2006)
- KAMIRA research - Roma women NGO report on: Finland | Poland | FYR Macedonia | Ukraine | Spain
- Survey results: The situation of Roma women by Ms Carmen Segovia, KAMIRA (Spain)
- The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by Ms Caroline Ouaffo Wafang (Switzerland)
- Legislative and policy responses to violence against women and children by Mr Benoît Cassière, (Hendaye, France)
- Forced marriage: The UK Responses by Ms Sophie Lott (United Kingdom)
Launch of the Council of Europe and the European Commission joint programme on Roma and Traveller women’s access to justice.
If you are interested to attend any of the following launch events please register:
Registration for Dublin, Ireland (14 October 2016 )
Registration for Rome, Italy (18 October 2016)
Registration for Sofia, Bulgaria (8 November 2016)
Registration for Bucharest, Romania (10 November 2016)
Registration for Athens, Greece (22 November 2016)
On 6 and 7 October 2015, the Council of Europe is organising together with the Government of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” the 5th International Review Conference of Roma Women in Skopje at the Hotel Holiday Inn.
The Review Conference will be attended by more than 100 participants, including Roma women from 20 member States of the Council of Europe, political figures, government representatives and experts. The event will take stock of developments in the area of Romani women’s rights and social inclusion at national level since the first international conference of Roma women in 2007 in Sweden and it will aim to build on the latest results of the 4th international conference from 2013 in Finland, particularly on the Strategy for the Advancement of Romani women and Girls, 2014-2020 of the Phenjalipe Network of Roma Women. Through the facilitation of side events and workshops, the Conference aims to provide space for Roma women and relevant stakeholders to exchange relevant experiences, work results and good practices and build stronger cooperation across countries. It also aims to discuss more in-depth specific priority areas identified during the preparatory process, namely the mainstreaming of gender in the national Roma integration strategies and local action plans, empowerment and participation as well as forms of violence against Roma women, with a focus on trafficking and child marriage. The conclusions and recommendations of the Review Conference may serve as further guidelines for relevant policy makers at national level and international organisations, including the Council of Europe.
The webstreaming is available on the 6 October from 09h30 to 18h00 and on 7 October from 09h00 to 13h00.
A follow up event to the Helsinki 4th International Romani Women’s Conference, organized by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Ukrainian government and the Phenjalipe Informal Network of Romani women, is taking place in Kyiv on 24-25 November 2014. It will gather representatives from 11 countries, experts in Gender mainstreaming and/or Romani Women Issues from Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, international organisations, independent experts on gender mainstreaming and members of the Phenjalipe Network.
It aims to discuss the importance and practical ways towards mainstreaming gender into national strategies for Roma integration by identifying some of the most effective models for mainstreaming gender into existing national Roma integration strategies. In addition, the seminar intends to provide practical assistance to interested participants and Council of Europe member States to revise their existing Roma strategies from a gender mainstreaming perspective, and thus putting at their disposal an advisory expert group to be established in the context of this seminar. The report of the seminar will be shared with all the participants and it will be also presented during the 9th Plenary Meeting of the CoE Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) in spring 2015 by the CAHROM Gender Equality Rapporteur.
The seminar is part of the implementation process of the Strategy for the Advancement of Romani Women and Girls, 2014-2010 that will be reviewed at the 5th International Conference of Romani women, organized by the Government of “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Phenjalipe and the Council of Europe, in September 2015, in Skopje.
The brainstorming meeting revealed issues of discrimination against Roma women and girls in the areas of education, employment, health care and access in public spaces in the context of identifying possible interest areas for the agenda of the 5th International Roma Women’s Conference.
In response to the civil society’s proposal to have Turkey host the 5th international conference of Roma women in 2015 in Istanbul, the Turkish representatives indicated that they would discuss the proposal with other ministries and provide an official answer in the coming months. In this context, the Council of Europe has reconfirmed its support in facilitating the preparation of the conference through both technical and financial support.
As additional follow-up to the brainstorming meeting, the representative of the Ministry of Health proposed a number of joint local workshops at regional level with local authorities and Roma women to discuss policies on Roma, women and children.
Likewise, the Roma women attending the brainstorming meeting indicated an interest in a number of project initiatives involving case studies on the situation of Roma children in education and workshops for Roma women to be able to engage more actively with the local authorities.
Agenda in English and Turkish
List of participants
The aim of the event, which was coorganised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the UN Women and the OSCE/ODIHR, is to empower Romani women and girls to participate in society, by discussing the current situation and status of Romani women and identifying the pressing issues needed to be addressed to strengthen their rights and inclusion in the Republic of Moldova. This event was made possible thanks to a voluntary contribution of the Finnish Government to the Council of Europe.
The meeting was attended by 20 Roma Women from various municipalities in the Republic of Moldova, belonging to the Roma women Network organisation, and was opened by Mr Ruslan Stanga, Adviser to the Prime Minister's on Roma inclusion issues. Representatives of the Bureau for Interethnic Relations and the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova were also present at the meeting addressing the issues like: What is the status of Romani women and girls in the Republic of Moldova ? What opportunities exist for Romani women and girls to identify and advance their agendas in the context of upcoming national (2014) and local (2015) elections?
List of participants
List of participants
Final report of the 4th International Roma Women Conference
Draft Action Plan 2014-2016
Draft Strategy of Romani women 2014-2010
The Council of Europe is pleased to offer a two month study visit to Roma women activists\young professionals at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg-France. Applications should reach the Council of Europe Secretariat until 10th of January 2014
Acting now for an equal future
More than 150 Roma women from across Europe are meeting in Helsinki from 16-17 September to discuss ways of improving the situation for themselves, their families and their communities. Among the main aims of the 4th International Roma Women's Conference are drawing up a strategy, underlining the importance of involving women in policy implementation, and improving networking between Roma women and other groups working for gender equality. The meeting's agenda has been set by the women who are taking part.
The conference will be opened by former Finnish President Tarja Halonen. Opening speakers include Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister for Sports and Culture (Finland), Aasrud Rigmor, Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs (Norway), Erik Ullenhag, Minister of Integration (Sweden) and Anina Ciuciu, a Roma author from France/Romania. Representing the Council of Europe, which is co-organising the conference together with the Finnish government, will be Jeroen Schokkenbroek, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues. The European Union will be represented by Jan Truszcynski, Director General of the EU Commission's Directorate General of Education.
- Strategic Document
- Note to the participants
- List of participants
- Livestreaming of the Conference
- Video message from Ms Livia Jaroka, Member of the European Parliament
- Report of the Technical Meeting: The way forward to the International Roma Women's Conference (15 June 2012)
- Position paper on the 4th International Conference of Roma Women “Acting now for an equal future”
- Recommendations adopted by the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe on roma and travellers
- Recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues at its fourth session: guaranteeing the rights of minority women and girls
- Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1927 (2013)1 Final version: Ending discrimination against Roma children
- Parliamentary Assembly report: Ending discrimination against Roma children
- Council of Europe High Level Meeting on Roma (Strasbourg, 20 October 2010): ''The Strasbourg Declaration on Roma''
- Declaration of romani women networks “I am a european roma woman” Conference Athens, January 11-12 2010)
- European Women’s Lobby Position Paper
- Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the Rise of Anti-Gypsyism and Racist Violence against Roma in Europe
- Declaration of the Thırd Internatıonal Roma Women’s Conference/ Fırst World Congress of Roma women (Granada (Spain) / 23-25 October 2011)
Documents in Romani
Replies to a questionnaire needed to prepare major conference next year on Roma women
To best prepare for the 4th International Roma Women’s Conference the Finnish government, with the assistance of the Romanian National Center for Roma Culture, has drafted this questionnaire to gather informed opinions on the themes and the key issues to be addressed at the conference. Interested partners are requested to answer the questionnaire by 12 September 2012.
Questionnaire results – which will facilitate participation of European Roma women associations and other relevant conference partners – will be presented at a preparatory meeting for the conference to be hosted by the Romanian government in October this year in Bucharest.
Photo: Roma family, Driza, Fier, Albania. Copyright: the United Nations in Albania
The third international meeting took place in Granada, Spain, on 23-25 October 2011 and brought together Romnia from different continents (Europe, Asia, America and Africa) who shared their ideas and experiences. Issues on the agenda included the participation of Roma women in the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies developed with Roma women, access to education for girls, sexual diversity, harmful practices in the media and cultural values and identity.
Tackling main challenges that Romani women and their communities face today was the focus of the international conference ''I am a European Roma woman'', in Athens on 11-12 January. The conference discussed changing negative perceptions of Roma women in the media, eliminating harmful practices such as early marriages and forced sterilization as well as promoting entrepreneurship and economic empowerment of Roma women.
The Council of Europe has signed an Administrative arrangement with the Greek NGO Elpida to ensure the implementation of a 3-month long activity dealing with the pre-school, primary and secondary school education of 300 Roma children notably by engaging the assistance of 5 Roma women - school mediators. The results of the project will be presented to a regional seminar organized by the Greek Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Education and the Council of Europe in June 2010 in Xanthi (Greece).
The 1st International Roma Women’s Rights Conference, in Stockholm, on 3-4 December 2007, provided a forum for discussion about the challenges Romani women face. It was an opportunity to share information and good practices between policymakers and Romani Women's Networks across Europe. It was co-organised by the Swedish Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality, the Council of Europe and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. The core themes of the conference were: Romani Women's Rights, Combating Trafficking, Respecting Reproductive Rights and Roma Access to Public Health Care. One of the outcomes of the conference was the Declaration of Romani Women Networks at the international level where they expressed their concerns over the persistent discrimination and exclusion of the Romani communities and called upon governments to adopt appropriate policies and measures to effectively address the multiple discrimination faced by Romani women, and ensure the full implementation of Council of Europe Human Rights Conventions and Charters, United Nations Covenants and Conventions and EU directives.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) organised a Roundtable with Romani women networks the day before the start of the conference “Our Voices Heard”. The aim was to initiate a debate on the conference themes. The participants expressed concern about the increased anti-Roma attitudes on the part of politicians and citizens across Europe, and the inaction of some Council of Europe Member States in acknowledging and addressing the forced sterilisation of Romani women. They also noted the increasing numbers of cases of forced evictions of Roma families, especially in winter, and the inaction of central administrations in ending this illegal practice. The Roundtable participants adopted 27 recommendations, which were later on echoed in the conference working groups.
Report in English and Romani
- Concept paper for the 6th IRW Conference
- Draft Programme of the 6th IRW Conference [FR]
- Pledge on political representation of Roma women
- Empowerment of Roma women within the European Framework of National Inclusion Strategies
Presentations / Speeches
- Opening speech by Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
- Opening speech by Ms Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, former Special Rapporteur of Minority Issues
- Opening speech by Ms Oana Bizgan-Gayral, President of the gender equality Commission at the Romanian Parliament
- Opening speech by Ms Soraya Post, Feminist Initiative (MeP)
- Presentation by Mr Xavier Cadoret, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Mayor of Saint-Gerand-le-Puy, France
- Presentaion by Mr Charles Ramsden, Vice-Chair of the Council of Europe Gender Equality Commision
- Presentation by Ms Milana Rikanovic, Gender Specialist, UN Women Programme Office, Serbia
- Presentation by Mr Tomas Hrustic, Expert from the Slovak Republic on the Advisory Committee for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
- Presentation by Ms Anastasia Crickley,UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- Presentation by Ms Mara-Daniela Calista, MP, National Liberal Party (PNL), Romania
- Presentation by Ms Ursula Till-Tentschert, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
- Opening Session [EN] [FR] [ROManes]
- Morning sessions: Gender equality and electoral systems & Electoral Quota Systems for Roma/Travellers [EN] [FR] [ROManes]
- Workshop 1: Running as candidates on political parties’ lists: Sharing experiences and lessons learned (Room 9) [EN] [ROManes]
- Running as candidates on political parties’ lists: Exploring opportunities and identifying challenges (Room 14) [EN] [FR]
- Plenary session: presentations and conclusions of the workshops & Official signature ceremony of the Pledge [EN] [FR] [ROManes]
- Plenary Session 2: Empowering and mentoring Roma and Traveller Women: role models & Closing session [EN] [FR] [ROManes]