Education of Roma Women Between Feminism and Multiculturalism Study Case: Roma Women in Romania


  • Irina Ilisei National School of Political and Administrative Studies



In the present paper I analyze the way gender relations and women’s rights are negotiated inside the minority communities living in Romania. The paper highlights the intersection between ethnicity and gender, and the struggle between conserving the identity as well as norms and values of the traditional Roma communities. My main theoretical approach is based on Okin’s (1998, 1999) view that there is an existent tension between feminism and multiculturalism, between group rights and individual rights. I analyse the way the state’s decision to protect the identity of a community (in order to give groups the total freedom to decide their private sphere of life) may affect the rights of the individuals who are part of that community. The paper specifically investigates how access to education is negotiated between traditional Roma communities and the Romanian state, moreover, and looks closely at how such negotiations affect the Roma women in their decisions making. Concerning these issues, I analyze the situation of Roma women’s rights in the context of the intersection between patriarchal societies and Romanian society in which gender inequalities have been minimalized and women have won rights and freedoms equal with the one owned by men. Finally, I intend to draw suggestions for public policies through which individual rights a group rights should become compatible but without the harm of the first.

Author Biography

Irina Ilisei, National School of Political and Administrative Studies

PhD Student in Roma Studies