1st Edition

The Romani Women’s Movement Struggles and Debates in Central and Eastern Europe

    291 Pages
    by Routledge

    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    The lack of recognition of Romani gender politics in the wider Romani movement and the women’s movements is accompanied by a scarcity of academic literature on Romani women’s mobilization in wider social justice struggles and debates.

    The Romani Women’s Movement highlights the role that Romani women’s politics plays in shaping equality related discourses, policies, and movements in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Presenting the diverse experiences and voices of Romani women activists, this volume reveals how they translate experiences of structural inequalities into political struggles by defining their own spaces of action; participating in formalized or less formal activist practices, and challenging the agendas and mechanisms of the established Romani and women’s movements.

    Moving discourses on and of Romani women from the periphery of scholarly exchanges to the mainstream, the volume invites scholars and activists from different disciplines and movements to critically reflect on their engagements with particular social justice agendas. It will appeal to students, researchers and practitioners interested in fields such as social movements, gender equality, and social and ethnic justice.


    Foreword Margareta Matache

    Introduction Romani Feminist Critique and Gender Politics

    Angéla Kóczé, Violetta Zentai, Jelena Jovanović, and Enikő Vincze

    Part I Social Categories and Agendas

    Chapter 1 Missed Opportunity or Building Blocks of a Movement? History and Lessons from the Roma Women’s Initiative’s Efforts to Mobilize European Romani Women’s Activism

    Debra Schultz and Nicoleta Bițu

    Chapter 2 Negotiating the Identity Dilemma: Crosscurrents Across the Romani, Romani Women’s and Romani LGBTIQ Movements

    Lucy Fremlová and Aidan McGarry

    Chapter 3 Gender Relations and the Romani Women’s Movement in the Eyes of Romani Men: Towards the Potential for Transversal Politics

    Jelena Jovanović and Violetta Zentai

    Chapter 4 Heroines of Ours: Between Magnificence and Maleficence

    Jelena M. Savić

    Part II Linking the Personal and the Political

    Chapter 5 Towards an Anti-Racist Feminism for Social Justice in Romania

    Carmen Gheorghe, Letiția Mark, and Enikő Vincze

    Chapter 6 Romani Women’s Friendship, Empowerment, and Politics: Views on Romani Feminism in Serbia and Beyond

    Vera Kurtić and Jelena Jovanović

    Chapter 7 Untapped Potential of Romani Women’s Activism in Contemporary Europe: Czech Republic

    Jamen Gabriela Hrabaňová and Gwendolyn Albert

    Chapter 8 Romani Gender Politics in Hungary and Feminist Alliances in Practice

    Lídia Balogh

    Chapter 9 The Dilemmas of the Romani Women’s Movement in Bulgaria: From Assimilation to Empowerment?

    Teodora Krumova

    Part III Transnational Inspirations

    Chapter 10 Emancipation and Passionate Politics: Impact of Various Feminisms on Central and Eastern European Romani Women’s Activism

    Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka

    Chapter 11 The Challenges of Kalí NGOisation after Francoism: Rethinking Activism in and beyond Spain

    Patricia Caro Maya and Sarah Werner Boada

    Concluding remarks: Promises and Prospects of the Romani Women’s Movement in Central and Eastern Europe

    Alexandra Oprea

    Carol Silverman

    List of Contributors



    Angéla Kóczé is Assistant Professor of Romani Studies and Academic Director of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

    Violetta Zentai is co-director of the Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

    Jelena Jovanović is Policy and Research Coordinator for the European Roma Grassroots Organizations (ERGO) Network, Brussels, Belgium as well as Research Affiliate of the Center for Policy Studies at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

    Enikő Vincze is Professor at Babes-Bolyai University and housing activist in Cluj, Romania.



    Susan Gal, Mae & Sidney G. Metzl Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Social Sciences, University of Chicago

    This pioneering volume refocuses scholarship and activism in striking ways. The authors are as knowledgeable about feminist and gender theory as about the political dilemmas of activism. Filled with fresh, critical insights for productive alliances, the book is innovative in genre. Some chapters, inspired by postcolonial thought, offer sharp analyses of the Romani women's movement. In others, activists and scholars reflect together on their motivations and differences of position, identity and vision. Facing inward, the book courageously dissects tensions within Romani communities and among differently placed women. Facing outward, it locates Romani gender politics within European national and transnational contexts, in a regime of non-governmental organizations.


    Mieke Verloo, Professor of Comparative Politics and Inequality Issues, Radboud University, Nijmegen

    This much needed contribution is unique in three ways at least: as a novel and specifically European contribution to anti-racist scholarship; as a very fine-tuned, empirical and exemplary contribution to political intersectionality integrating race, sex, gender, sexuality and class; and as a solid scholarly illustration of giving voice to Romani feminist activists.


    Huub van Baar, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany, and University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    The Romani Women’s Movement volume makes a key contribution to the field, enriching and revitalizing debates about the importance of theories and practices of structural and political intersectionality for an adequate understanding of the crucial role that the Romani women’s movement has played in the contemporary struggle for justice, equality, rights, and recognition for Romani women and men. This timely and important collection brings together a team of internationally pioneering scholars who themselves have played a vital role in the movement and who analyze its history, challenges, and prospects in the broader context of feminist, gender, Black, subaltern, and LGBTQI theories, practices, and movements.