How does the Roma feminist movement intersect with the migration of Roma families?
University of Paris 8 Vincennes – St. Denis
My presentation will examine the ambitions of Roma feminists in Bucharest and ask how they articulate their arguments within the transnational framework of Roma circulation through Europe. I argue that issues of gender equality represent a challenge for a majority of Roma women. Although early strategies of the Roma feminist movement were primarily geared towards advocacy at the European institutional level, community-based projects, supported by the International Roma Women’s Network hosted by the Council of Europe, have multiplied in the last years. For example, Impreuna, a leading agency for Roma community development in Romania, has invested over a million Ron in community-based projects aimed at fostering change in mentalities and attitudes concerning gender. While issues of gender inequality are not specific to the Roma, strategies meant to advocate for women’s rights within these communities navigate specific obstacles, stemming from the Roma’s position within Romanian society, and the Roma communities’ internal rules. Within the communities targeted by Roma feminists, migration is a frequent reality. I will therefore explore how the women creating and spearheading projects for gender equality integrate the reality of migration into their arguments and strategies. Will the core messages of the projects circulate through Europe? How do Roma feminists advocate for changes that can be applied over the borders and into migrants’ new homes?