Roma women are the most vulnerable – working breakfast with President José Manuel Barroso

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission welcomed members of the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality at a working breakfast in Strasbourg. MEP Lívia Járóka spoke about the situation of marginalized women and the objectives of her upcoming report on the social inclusion of Roma women.

On the occasion of the 104th International Women's Day, José Manuel Barroso President of the European Commission held a working breakfast in Strasbourg with members of the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality to review current issues of equality between women and men. MEP Lívia Járóka, vice-chair of the committee highlighted that Europe had made a significant progress in gender equality in the past century, since women's day had been established in a world, when women had been unable to vote, their life strategies had been extremely limited and the idea of going to university or to engage themselves in politics had been regarded scandalous.

The MEP emphasized that today women were expected to educate themselves and encouraged to make a career but these achievements were all too unevenly distributed throughout the continent and for millions of European girls it was as much of an unattainable dream as it had been a few generations ago. Járóka reminded that the long-drawn recession had hit women with an unprecedented level of social exclusion and those who had been born into already marginalized communities experienced disadvantages on an unbearably high number of grounds and that she would put forward a report on the situation of Roma women in 2013. According to the EPP Group MEP, Member States should mainstream gender equality into their national Roma integration programmes, as well as place special focus on the social inclusion of Roma women in their gender equality strategies to fully utilize on their community-building potential. '"In these times, when the very essence of the EU is being put to the test, we cannot afford to waste the potential of any group in society and it is even more important to lift those obstacles that vulnerable and marginalized communities encounter when invoking their rights as EU citizens" – she explained.