Roma women discussed about gender equality and the impact of domestic violence in their life

More than 20 Roma women met in Chisinau to discuss about their rights, the equality between women and men, and possible solutions when facing domestic violence. The event was held in the context of celebrating the International Romani Day, that was aknowledged on the 8th of April.

Date: Friday, April 12, 2019

Varvara Duminica
Varvara Duminica, the first Roma woman that became local councilor in Moldova. Credit: UN Women Moldova/ Ramin Mazur.
The participants in the event ‘Roma Women – Here and Now’ engaged in an open dialogue on promoting gender equality in the Roma community and empowering women to break the stereotypes that are being perpetuated in the community they live in.

“Often, when talking about the Roma community, we talk about discrimination. We should bear in mind that there is not only direct, but also intersectional discrimination, which means that a certain individual can be discriminated against on several grounds. A Roma woman is double-discriminated. Firstly, because she is a woman, and secondly – because she is part of the Roma ethnic group. At the same time, we want not only to discuss about how to  break the stereotypes, but also to reveal the amazing stories of Roma women who managed to overcome  the stereotypes and succeeded”, said Svetlana Andries, program coordinator, UN Women Moldova.


Present at the event, Liliana Palihovici, expert in promoting women’s participation in decision-making, spoke about the importance of involving Roma women in civic and political life. According to the statistics, four out of ten Roma women are unemployed, and five out of ten have no studies. As far as Roma women participation in decision-making is concerned, studies show that although they often participate in joint meetings where they discuss about the problems of the Roma community or meet each other to discuss them, their decision-making capacity is still limited.

Liliana Palihovici, expert in promoting women's participation in decision-making. Credit: UN Women Moldova/ Ramin Mazur.
“I want as many Roma women as possible to participate in politics and decision-making so that our voice can be heard and no one has to suffer because of discrimination”, said Varvara Duminica, local councilor in Chetrosu village and the first Roma woman who became a local councilor.  

Also at the event, Nighina Azizov, UN Women Program Coordinator, discussed with the women about domestic violence and the myths surrounding it. According to the 'Profiles of Women in the Republic of Moldova'although they are frequently victims of domestic violence, Roma women usually fail to report these cases because of fear, shame, insecurity for children’s fate, or are giving up due to the low trust in the ability to change something. Therefore, the share of Roma women (17%) who consider as fully acceptable for the husband to hit his wife is about 2.4 times higher than non-Roma women (7%).


Victorina Luca, member of the Council for the Preventing and Eliminating Discrimination and Ensuring Equality, talked about the basic principles of gender equality.


The event was organised by the Platform of Roma Women ‘Romni’, supported by UN Women Moldova and financed by Sweden.