Greater participation of Roma men and women is needed in the process of creating and making decisions, because members of this national minority know best which measures are necessary for improvement of their position, said Brankica Janković, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, at the opening of the conference „Roma women in Serbia – achievements, challenges and perspectives“, organized by the Roma National Council. „ The fact that almost every other complaint against discrimination on the grounds of nationality is related to Roma people reflects their position, but it is necessary to present positive examples and in such way stimulate and encourage the members of the Roma minority “, said the Commissioner. She presented the example of meeting with the Minister for Education, that was attended by Roma activist and students, with greater number of Roma women who graduated law or are to become medical doctors in the future, who gave good suggestions related to education of Roma population.
Vitomir Mihajlović, President of the Roma National Council, said that Roma women are discriminated against in their own community, but that situation is improving, while Andrea Orizio, Chief of the OSCE Mission to Serbia said that Serbia is putting great efforts to improve the position of Roma women, but that there is still much work to be done.
Examples of good practice and achievements that Roma women, in spite of numerous obstacles, have managed to realize in Serbia, were presented as the most important part of conference, by Ana Saćipović, Vice president of the Roma National Council, Marina Simeunović from organization Young Roma Women in the Roma Decade, Slavica Vasić from Bibia organization, Jelena Jovanović MP, in the Vojvodina Assembly, as well as Ajša Alić and Zorica Saćipović.
Among other speakers at the conference were Gordana Stevanović, Deputy Ombudsman, Suzana Paunović, Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Nicolas Bizel, representative of the EU Delegation, Nenad Ivanišević, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and others.