VIENNA, 6 September 2012 – An OSCE-organized roundtable discussion of ways to overcome existing barriers to the integration of migrant, minority and Roma and Sinti women into their communities and into the society as a whole started in Vienna today.
During the two-day meeting some 80 experts from civil society organizations, international and diplomatic community, academic and research institutions, as well as governments will identify ways to ensure better social, economic and political integration of women from these communities, and discuss good practices in combating discrimination against women.
“Socio-economic barriers, long standing cultural stigmas and repressive legal codes create challenges for women’s inclusion at the global level,” said Lamberto Zannier, the OSCE Secretary General. He added that the only way to address this is to create sustainable global-level policies for women empowerment.
Rita Izsák, United Nations Independent Expert, in her keynote speech said: “In every society, there is a long way to go before minority women can truly say that they are recognized as equals and can fulfil their true potential as agents of change at every level.” She mentioned access to quality education, involvement in political decision-making and effective participation in economic life as fundamental issues to be addressed, and said that governments, communities and women groups themselves must give more attention to the specific challenges of minority women.
The outcome of the expert roundtable meeting will be shared with OSCE participating States at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Special Day on Roma and Sinti on 27 September in Warsaw.