It is good news that the new National Women’s Strategy 2017-2020 contains specific actions in relation to Traveller and Roma women. This wasn’t the case in the last Strategy.
It is our experience that Traveller/Roma are often ignored if not specifically named in policy documents.
The Strategy locates some of these actions with the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy (NITRIS). These include:
initiatives in relation to Traveller and Roma women’s education and employment, including the provision of community-based supports for retention of Traveller and Roma children in the education system.
· initiatives in relation to Traveller and Roma women’s health by enhancing the Traveller Primary Healthcare Projects, and continued engagement with national Traveller organisations
· participation in public life by Traveller and Roma women, by continuing to fund and support the National Traveller Women’s Forum, Mincéirs Whiden, and relevant local community Traveller and Roma projects.
In addition the Strategy says that the second HSE National Intercultural Strategy will include a specific section directed to the care and support of women and girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is named as the vehicle to support a greater focus on Traveller/Roma women’s participation and on gender issues at community level:
· SICAP will provide key supports to those most in need in our communities, including disadvantaged women, Traveller and Roma women and women with disabilities, in all Local Authority areas throughout the country.
There is also a more general promise to promote the participation of Traveller and Roma women in leadership positions, including in the community and voluntary sector.
It is hoped other general actions will impact positively on Traveller/Roma women under the 5 objectives of the Strategy.
1: Advance Socio-Economic Equality for Women and Girls
2: Advance the Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing of Women and Girls
3: Ensure the Visibility in Society of Women and Girls, and their Equal and Active Citizenship
4: Advance Women in Leadership at All Levels
5: Combat Violence Against Women
6: Embed Gender Equality in Decision-making
See the full Strategy here.