Download the Red Notebook of the MARRY WHEN YOU ARE READY European Project.
  • Early marriage is a SOCIAL DIMENSION
    1. Put the person at the center
  • Early marriage is a PUBLIC POLICY TOPIC
    1. Long-term perspective
    2. Local implementation and co-governance
    3. Mainstreaming into ordinary policymaking
  • Early marriage is a COMMUNITY ISSUE
    1. Roma women as community workers
    2. Community spaces: an unrecognized need
    3. School, school, school: education is the key
  • Early marriage is a COMMON CAUSE
    1. Combat racism and stereotypes
    2. The responsibility of the civil society

The focus of the policy interventions we propose to prevent and challenge early and combined marriage are Roma girls – Roma children, youth and young women. The objective is to raise their capacity to self-determine their life choices, which is heavily burdened by multiple discrimination to which they are exposed on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, young age and social standing. Poor living conditions – poverty, spatial segregation, low cultural capital of the family, cultural capital of the family, limited access to educational opportunities – harshly challenge at the start their opportunities for personal development. Both the patriarchal culture of origin and the racist dominant culture play as oppressive negative forces that stifle intra-communal progress and render residual the individual possibilities of choice.

The practice of early marriage can only be challenged through an intersectional approach that addresses in a unitary long term public policy vision the complex interlock of oppressive environmental factors. The involvement of the school system, of the local public institutions and of the civil society is crucial to sustain the societal change that can help Roma girls to raise themselves from the conditions of extreme frailty. The expected outcome of these actions is to generate breaches in the social isolation of the Roma community, which exasperates traditional prerogatives and attitudes. This integrated intersectional approach considers the Roma girl as heavily embedded within the family and the immediate community: the involvement of both genders and of all generations, especially parents, ought be considered. The operational strategy we propose is based on community work of Roma social workers, mediators and activists and on the protagonism of Roma women as the most precious drivers of intracommunal change.

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