International  Women’s Day 2017 is the first year  Traveller women can celebrate their identity as women  and as an ethnic group – as Traveller ethnicity was recognised by the State just one week ago.

It’s a busy day for Traveller and Roma women.

Trade Union Meeting

Tessa Collins of our Violence Against Women programme will be speaking tonight at the ICTU and SIPTU Equality Sub Committee.  She will be outlining the situation for Traveller women in terms of employment and speaking about some of the barriers to employment for Traveller women.

She sees the recognition of Traveller ethnicity as a major step forward in framing Traveller identity in a much more positive light.

“Being recognised as a Minority Ethnic Group won’t change things overnight, but will change things for our daughters, grand-daughters and into the future for Traveller girls and women, ” says Tessa.

Aras an Uachtaráin

A representative group of Traveller women will, along with women from other ethnic groups,  meet with President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin today.

President Higgins made a special statement last week at the announcement of the recognition of Traveller ethnicity and also wrote to us.

(L to R) Tracey Reilly, Rosaleen McDonagh, President Michael D. Higgins and Ronnie Fay.

(L to R) Tracey Reilly, Rosaleen McDonagh, President Michael D. Higgins and Ronnie Fay.

Molly Collins sings at Áras an Uachtaráin

Molly Collins sings at Áras an Uachtaráin

Molly Collins and President Michael D. Higgins.

Molly Collins and President Michael D. Higgins.

(L to R) Sabina Higgins, Rosaleen McDonagh and Alice Mary Higgins.

(L to R) Sabina Higgins, Rosaleen McDonagh and Alice Mary Higgins.

World Congress on Women’s Mental Health

Meanwhile representatives of our Primary Health Care Project are presenting at the 7th World Congress on Women’s Mental Health which is being held in Dublin.Copy of IMG_1080 3

Mary Bridget Collins and Missie Collins will presenting on  Traveller women’s mental health as per the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010).  Maria Joyce from the National Traveller Women’s Forum will also be talking at this event.  And Gabi Muntean from Pavee Point will be speaking about realising Roma women’s rights.

UN Committee – Better outcomes for Traveller and Roma Women

Following a reporting process in Geneva last month, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women released their concluding observations about women’s rights in Ireland just in time to mark the International Women’s Day.  In it they call for better outcomes  for Traveller and Roma women and girls.  Read more here.