Roma Women in Albania More Disadvantaged Since End of Communism
Friday, August 17, 2007 10:42 AM

In Albania, Roma women face more discrimination and disadvantages than other women. Their situation has severely worsened since the end of the communist regime.  More than seventy percent of Roma families live in poverty. The United Nations Development Fund recently found that a non-Roma individual made twice as much as a Roma individual in the same community. Economic opportunity is further diminished by the fact that Roma women marry around age fifteen, whereas other Albanian women marry around age twenty-three. Since the end of communism in Albania, the average age of Roma women giving birth has dropped from nineteen to under seventeen years old. Many Roma women report that they do not have equal access to hospitals and doctors in Albania due to discrimination and demands for bribes.


Educational disparities also exist for Roma women in Albania. According to the World Bank, the percentage of Roma women who have never attended school has increased from forty-eight to fifty-seven percent since the fall of communism. The World Bank reports that during communist times, Roma women averaged six years of education, but they now average less than four years of education. Because of these factors, Roma women are at a higher risk for physical violence and sexual trafficking.

Compiled from: Conditions Worsen for Roma Women in Albania, Nicole Itano, Women's E-News, 13 August 2007.