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Brainstorming meeting for the 5th International Roma Women Conference –results

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.

Brainstorming meeting for the 5th International Roma Women Conference

With the kind support of the Finnish Government, and together with the Turkish Government, the Council of Europe will organise on 19 March 2014 a brainstorming meeting with Roma women in Istanbul to discuss the possibility of joint efforts to organise the 5th International Conference on Roma Women in 2015. The aim of the 2015 International Conference is to take stock of various initiatives benefitting Roma women and build on follow-up activities and action by Roma women and the Council of Europe. It also aims to raise awareness on the priorities of Roma women in Turkey and create the space for joint action and policy development on Roma women at national level. This brainstorming meeting is a follow-up to the 4th International Conference on Roma Women held in Helsinki in September 2013.

Agenda in English and Turkish
List of participants

Round table on empowerment of Romani Women in Moldova

Round table on Romani Women’s political participation at national and local level: follow up event to the Helsinki 4th International Romani Women’s Conference took place on February 24, in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

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

Expert Meeting on the "Roadmap for implementing the Strategy on Romani Women's Issues (2013-2020)", Strasbourg 17 February 2014

A follow up event to the Helsinki 4th International Romani Women’s Conference is taking place in Strasbourg on the 17th February 2014 gathering 15 Roma women, experts in the Romani Women Issues from Romania, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Republic of Moldova and “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. It intends to take stock of the results of the Finnish Conference and build on the conclusions and recommendations made by the Romani Women present during the Conference. The aim of the meeting is to elaborate a Roadmap for implementing the Strategy on Romani Women’s Issues (2013-2020) which will be implemented by Romani women with the support of other Roma activists, international organisations, governments and other stakeholders.

List of participants
Final report of the 4th International Roma Women Conference
Draft Action Plan 2014-2016
Draft Strategy of Romani women 2014-2010

4th International Conference of Roma Women

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.

Final report [Romani version]

Council of Europe study visit for roma women

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

Preparatory meeting for the 4th International Conference of Roma Women

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.


3rd International Conference of Roma Women

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.

2nd International Conference of Roma Women

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. 

Roma School Mediators

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). 

1st International Roma Women’s Rights Conference

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