50 years of celebrating International Roma Day and many Roma girls and women still do not have access to education

It has been 50 years since the historical meeting in 1971, in Chesfield, near London, where a group of Roma activists put in motion the celebration of Roma persons, their accomplishments and achievements. However, the International Roma Day is also a day to remember the plight of the Roma people and to call for action in order to improve their lives and respect their rights.

Education is the strongest force in providing equality and fairness in all aspects of life. A poor education is a serious obstacle to a (good) job, housing, access to health services and, in general, a good quality of life, but also to personal fulfilment and active citizenship. This is why several international and European documents, such as the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategy links social inclusion success to education. Various FRA Studies (2012, 2014) show worrisome figures in relation to Roma education, such as high numbers of illiteracy among Roma aged 25-44 in Greece (47%), Romania (34%) and Portugal (31%).
Roma women and girls are more likely to leave school at an early age, or not to attend school at all, with serious consequences on their employment, active citizenship, their rights and their quality of life. The 2005 European Parliament resolution on the situation of Roma women in the European Union addressed the situation and urged Member States to take a range of measures “to ensure that women and girls have access on equal terms to quality education for all”.

International Roma Day 2021 – A new chance to increase Roma women’s right to education!