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Debates
Tuesday, 8 March 2005 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women Platform for Action (Beijing + 10)
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  Járóka (PPE-DE). (HU) On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I would like warmly to greet those here, and at the same time to draw your attention to another day, not yet well-known, which is to occur on 8 April every year, and which this year falls exactly one month from now, International Roma Day. The UN’s 4th World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing first highlighted the issue of discrimination by race and sex. Contrary to the challenge issued in Beijing, discrimination has not been examined more deeply or in more detail either at an international or a domestic level. Because of this very little is also said about ethnic discrimination not affecting women and men equally. The Roma woman suffers greater prejudice when she is discriminated against not just on ethnic grounds but on sex grounds also. The Roma woman faces numerous social barriers within the European context. At the same time, within narrower communities the barriers of sexual discrimination hold her back. The Roma woman, as a member of the Roma community, is in most cases pushed to the margins of society where she must face material insecurity, social exclusion, negative discrimination, the anti-Gypsy atmosphere around her and her family, and in some cases even physical danger on a daily basis.

Discrimination on an ethnic basis in health is banned by several European laws. Yet despite this, Roma women endure numerous incidents which contradict these principles. Separate Gypsy rooms, forced sterilisation, verbal abuse and lower standards of service are all current problems. Roma women live on the crossroads of sexual and ethnic prejudice, but it is not possible to reduce their problems to merely cultural or ethnic dimensions. They struggle with the same problems as non-Roma women who are often equally excluded and impoverished, and have worse employment opportunities than men, lower rates of pay, and consistently experience shortcomings in child-care services such as nursery care, kindergarten or schooling.

In my opinion, one of the most important elements in our struggle for equality of opportunities for women is that we recognise, accept, increase awareness and cure the multiple discriminations burdening women who live in minorities, including Roma women.

 
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