Coinciding with the newly-launched website on Roma children, this recently published UNICEF report entitled "Women – Motherhood – Early Childhood Development" explores how the status and situation of Roma women influences the health, survival and early development of their young children. It makes a strong argument that in poor and socially excluded Roma communities, young children’s health cannot be addressed effectively if the rights of women are overlooked.
UNICEF report - Women, motherhood, childhood and development
The report focuses on the barriers and opportunities for action that Roma women experience and how these influence their possibilities to engage in efforts for their young children. Living in contexts of multiple forms of discrimination (on grounds of gender, ethnic origin and low socio-economic status) and poverty, Roma women experience an acute disempowerment and major barriers to making the most of their lives. These hindrances translate in the limited applicability of various health programmes seeking to teach mothers about child care.
This analysis explores how the limitations of Roma women in accessing adequate health care, and their exclusion from educational opportunities result in poor health conditions and high levels of illiteracy - and how these in turn affect their young children.
Finally, the report presents recommendations for areas that can be explored in the design and implementation of Early Childhood Development programmes and interventions. It calls for future research on related issues. Furthermore, it also presents ideas for creating initiatives for Roma women’s empowerment as part of Early Childhood Development approaches.
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