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Statement, 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day [editar]

Under the banner “They called me Roma but they forgot to call me a woman” the Roma Women’s Group (GMG) at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano releases this institutional statement for 8 March 2021


Statement, 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day

Once again, the Roma Women’s Group (GMG) at the  Fundación Secretariado Gitano, along with all the other people who are part of this organisation, are joining in with the celebration of 8 March, International Women’s Day.

[Photo: last face-to-face meeting of the GMG (Dec 2019)]

This 8 March 2021, we wish to highlight the way in which the health, social and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 is deepening existing gender inequalities and inequalities of treatment. It represents a significant setback for millions of girls and women across the world attempting to exercise their rights, and particularly for Roma girls and women.  

While Roma women and girls were already suffering inequality and inequity in the social, health and economic spheres, this crisis has aggravated the situation, making this group of women and girls as vulnerable as any people can be.  

In the Roma Women’s Group (GMG) at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, being aware of the fragility of achievements in the areas of gender equality and of women’s access to rights, we believe it is vital to point out that being a Roma woman can mean facing greater barriers and difficulties in these contexts.

Roma women, like the majority of women, suffer from discrimination. However, Roma women face a series of additional disadvantages, simply because they are Roma, which can develop into a specific type of discrimination known as intersectional discrimination.   

This pandemic has created new obstacles but it is also entrenching some existing ones, such as the perpetuation of gender roles, the increase in male violence against women, and unemployment.

Heavier emotional burdens as women are confined to their homes by greater caring obligations and a lack of joint responsibility; heavier financial burdens due to the disappearance of women’s occupations (street markets, street selling, flower stalls etc); a greater probability of suffering situations of violence due to being confined with their attacker; an increase in the digital gender gap, including among children.

We wish to highlight the circumstances in which Roma women and girls are living, with the aim of identifying situations where we can intervene to alleviate them. We cannot allow the achievements of recent years in terms of social transformation, equality, participation, education and employment to come to nothing, or to be destroyed for good. 

On this day, 8 March, we want, like all other women, to occupy a space in the celebrations, and we call for a critical eye to be directed towards the media to ensure that a more real, diverse image of Roma women is projected, an image in which we see ourselves represented as Roma and as women, instead of being relegated to the simple stereotype of Roma women projected by the popular imagination.

 Ultimately, there remains a lot of work for us to do and many challenges to face; for this reason, and in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, our objective will continue to be to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, including all Roma women and girls”[1]. However, this task does not belong only to women themselves, or to Roma women themselves. It is the responsibility of the public authorities in all spheres. They must provide us with all the tools necessary. It is not a task simply for women alone, it is a question of equal opportunities for all men and women.

In the Roma Women’s Group at the Fundación Secretariado Gitano, we are sure that with the recognition and support of all men and women, WE WILL ACHIEVE IT.

“They called me Roma but they forgot to call me a woman”

#8M2021FSG  #8M2021GMG