Strasbourg, 11.09.2013 - 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.
According to Mr Schokkenbroek, “the Helsinki conference is expected to send a clear signal to governments that Roma women have their own policy proposals and should be involved as natural partners in the policy implementation process”.