New publication on Roma women’s status and children launched
Women - Motherhood - Early Childhood Development: exploring the question of how poor Roma women's status and situation influences children's survival, growth and development was launched on the occasion of the International Roma Day, marked on 8th of April 2012
This publication has been produced by UNICEF Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEECIS) with the assistance of the European Union
The potential of a “good start in life” to improve the current situation and future of poor and excluded Roma children is receiving more and more attention from those who work with and for poor Roma communities. However, early childhood development interventions for the Roma have tended to be directed to children alone, focusing on issues of access, desegregation, language of instruction and social justice in relation to preschool aged children. Considerably less attention has been directed to very early childhood, the period from birth to three, which is the most formative phase of human development and the stage when the human brain is developing most rapidly. Where they exist, parenting programmes have sought to “teach” or “give messages” to disempowered, malnourished and impoverished mothers without adequately recognizing their ability to internalize and act on the information.
The voices from the field that one can “hear” in this paper clearly demonstrate that such an approach requires fundamental re-examination and that women’s rights and roles need to be appropriately and sensitively factored into efforts to improve the situation and development of young children. It is also evident from the author’s analysis, that specific attention needs to be paid to ensuring that women are not reduced to their instrumental, maternal function with regard to young children. The intrinsic human rights of women as individuals and social actors if supported appropriately and comprehensively are likely to have a variety of positive outcomes for themselves, their families and especially, their young children.
The publication can be accessed at: http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/Women_Motherhood-07-21-2011-final-WEB(1).pdf