April 8 – International Roma Day. On this day, the team of the “Women, who are invisible” project told more about women, who are invisible.
Why are Roma organizations, for the most part, not cultural, but human rights? According to human rights activists, about 300,000 Roma live in Ukraine. At the same time, the official census showed only 46 thousand.
“Why are Roma women one of the main target groups of our project? Remember multiple discrimination. Usually, Roma women are persecuted not only as Roma but also as women. Therefore, they find themselves in very difficult circumstances: for a start, it is the lack of a passport, which entails the lack of employment opportunities, social services, education, self-realization. Roma communities are patriarchal. Women in Roma communities have very little chance of getting a vote. At the same time, Roma human rights organizations have a voice of equality and justice, including for Roma women. We fight against discrimination that exists systematically, institutionally, both at the household level and in the minds of society.
Sociological research shows that Ukrainians are ready to accept Roma as guests, but not as their own, and even other discriminated groups believe that Roma deserve such treatment, ”said Alya Yurchenko, project coordinator for the Ternipe Roma Ukraine NGO.
In addition, the “Women, who are invisible” project focuses on the rights of women who have been or are in prison. NGO “Vilna” has been working with such women for many years and is well aware of the challenges that await them when they try to arrange their lives.
“A woman who has served a sentence for society is considered “lost.” When women are released from penitentiaries, they cannot get a job and try not to take their children to kindergarten. Therefore, issues of resocialization must take into account the realities. Helping women who are released from prisons can protect them from re-offending, which often happens due to hopelessness, ” said Iryna Maksymova, head of the NGO Vilna, a member of JurFem.
Association of Women Lawyers of Ukraine “JurFem” provides legal support for the project and works on the areas of certification of women in prison and protection and restoration of their rights
“Women most often face discrimination in the field of family relations, such as domestic violence, which according to our and international law is discrimination, as well as in the upbringing, maintenance and maintenance of children, so women are forced to disproportionately combine family responsibilities with work where they face discrimination because of having children or planning a pregnancy, and still, according to statistics, women receive 20% less pay in equivalent positions than men.
When we talk about Roma women or those who have been released from prisons, they face multiple discrimination. And the most difficult thing here is to protect them: as a rule, all cases of discrimination, prejudice, are difficult to prove. If I am interviewed and asked questions that discriminate, I may not have witnesses or other evidence to show that I was not taken not because I did not have enough qualifications, but because I was Roma or because I was serving a sentence. And women understand this, but they are not always ready to seek legal help.
When it comes to domestic violence, they sometimes do not receive enough help from the authorities or the police, because we still have a stereotypical view that these cases are something private. And if they are Roma or women who have been released from prisons, then I myself have witnessed a stereotypical attitude towards such women. And we must work not only at the level of legislation, but also with consciousness, understanding, with the police, lawyers, judges, so that they understand that, no matter how banal it may sound, no matter what nationality, past experience, external circumstances I have, it should not affect the quality of service. And one of our first common tasks is to make women who are not visible visible, ”said Khrystyna Kit, head of the Ukrainian Women-Lawyer Association “JurFem”.
See the full record of the discussion.