UN says better outcomes needed for Traveller and Roma women

The State should take concrete measures to improve health, education, housing and employment outcomes for Traveller women and girls – says the UN Committee reporting on the Irish Government’s performance under the Convention On Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

 In its concluding observations, having heard from the Irish Government and NGOs, the Committee notes with concern that Traveller women and girls continue to register poor outcomes in health, education, housing and employment compared to the general population.

 To combat this the Government should ensure, says the Committee, that the forthcoming National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy has clear indicators and benchmarks.  Its implementation should be monitored and regularly evaluated, says the Committee.



There should also be sanctions on local authorities when they fail to provide accommodation for Travellers. To this end it recommends revising the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1993.


The Government also needs to take remedial action to address the low levels of attainment in education among Traveller, Roma and migrant women.  And it has asked the Irish Government to look particularly at the impact of the past-pupil criteria on Traveller, Roma and migrant women accessing education.

 It also suggests special measures such as scholarships, career counselling and consultation on educational plans and processes for Traveller and Roma women.


It says that women continue to suffer the effects of austerity, especially women in disadvantaged groups.  It states that the Habitual Residence Condition hinders entitlements to child benefit among migrant and Roma women.

Other Recommendations:

  •  Public and Political Life

The Convention has also urged the Irish Government to take concrete measures to promote the participation of Traveller, Roma and migrant women in public and political life.

  • Domestic Violence

Combat gender based violence by ensuring that the police are properly trained to identify investigate and prosecute cases, particularly against Traveller, Roma and migrant women and girls.

 It also recommends increasing funding for civil legal aid in these cases.

  •  Women in Prison

The committee notes that Traveller women are over-represented in prisons and recommends that the root causes of this should be addressed.

  • State institutions

Concerns were also raised at the closure of the Women’s Health Council and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism.

See here for document.