Empowering Roma and Traveller women and girls to access leadership positions is the key towards inclusion

Women make up nearly 50% of the world’s population but only account for 22.8 % of national parliamentarians worldwide (according to a census carried out by UN Women). In essence, it is a denial of women’s rights which carries with it serious social and economic consequences. Fully functioning communities, societies and economies need gender equality.

When it comes to Roma and/or Traveller women, the percentage of women in elected positions both at national and European levels is close to zero compared to the total estimated Roma and Traveller population.

The Council of Europe has for years observed that women are change makers and empowering Roma and Traveller women and girls to access leadership positions is the key towards the inclusion of Roma and Travellers into society.

How then can women, and particularly Roma and Traveller women be justly represented?

A concrete result of the 6th International Roma Women Conference on “Women and Political Representation: The Case of Roma and Traveller  Women” (Strasbourg, 6-7 November 2017) was a pledge on political representation of Roma and Traveller Women to promote gender equality and the participation of women from minority groups, in particular Roma and Traveller women, in decision-making bodies and in political representation at the next European, national, regional and local elections. This pledge has already been signed by 13 members of political parties/groups and remains open for on-line signature. ​If you have queries about the pledge or think your organisation will benefit from signing it, email us at A list of recommendations has also emanated from the Conference.

It is a small but sure step towards empowering Roma and Traveller women to take charge of their own destiny.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018, we encourage political leaders/parties to show support and commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s political participation, in particular from Roma and/or Traveller minority background, by signing this pledge.

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