Programs / Gender equality and prevention of early marriages
The Romani woman is object of multiple discrimination: as Roma and as woman. The educational, social and health status of Romani women is twice lower than the one of Roma men and eight times lower than the one of majority women. Romani women are sharply underrepresented in public institutions, government and political parties. In addition, the Romani woman is still subordinated to the man in the traditional Roma family. As a result the opportunities for overcoming the disadvantaged situation of Romani woman are very limited.
One of the major goals of Center Amalipe is providing equal chances for Romani women and fostering their active participation in public and political life. We work in several directions for achieving this goal:
- Research and mapping the situation: Center Amalipe has organized a number of national surveys about educational and health status of Romani women as well as about Romani women participation in public and political life and situation with early marriages. Special methods for taking into account the specifics of the “double discrimination” were included in the surveys. Their results formed the basis for the future advocacy activities. In addition, Center Amalipe pays special attention in its monitoring and evaluation reports whether the different policies take into account the gender aspect;
- Prevention of early marriages: one of the main objectives of Amalipe is to provide equal opportunities for Roma women and promote its increasingly active role in public and political life. This is also a horizontal principle of the organisation. Since of the biggest barriers to achieve this is harmful traditional practices such as early marriages, fighting against and prevention of early marriages is one of the key objectives of the organization.The targeted work on prevention of early marriages is organised in several parallel directions: 1) Work of the Community Development Centers. The prevention of early marriages is a major aspect of their activity. It involves prevention campaigns, community discussions, casework; 2) Activities in the schools part of Amalipe network “Every student can be a winner”. Within the framework of the program Amalipe team has systematised the methodology of school-based prevention and response. In addition, a set of tools has been developed together with the parent community, student parliaments and student mentors. The topic of early marriages prevention is on the key topics in the parent trainings center Amalipe regularly organizes.
- Including Romani women issues in the agenda: Amalipe undertakes special efforts for including Romani women issues both in the work of public institutions and in the activities of Roma organizations. Seminars and trainings on the problems of Romani women for public administrators and discussions and special NGOs forums on the necessity of incorporating gender perspective in the main integration efforts are used. Including Romani women emancipation as cross-cutting issue in all documents for Roma integration is special accent in the efforts of Center Amalipe;
- Fostering Romani women participation: we foster the participation of Romani women in public life, administration and political parties through training of Romani women activists (media training, advocacy training, etc.) and advocacy activities before institutions and parties for engaging Romani women.
- Forming Romani women leadership: Center Amalipe supports Romani women activists to become leaders of their communities through training, mentorship and technical assistance and through community work. Therefore, Center Amalipe has successfully used the opportunities provided by various programs of the Ministry of Labor, e.g. employing Romani women at the position of “social mediator in the Roma community”. This position provides a link between authorities and the Roma community and the same time contributes to raising the authority and prestige of the woman employed, both, among her own community and among the official institutions. This leads to breaking the stereotypes about the position of the woman in the community;
More information you can see in the following publications:
Domestic Violence and in particular HRV in Bulgaria: country report
Preventing Early Marriages
Combating of social exclusion of Romani women