The next Congress after the April 28 elections will very possibly have four Roma deputies who seek to reduce the inequality gap of this group, which includes some 750,000 people in Spain, until now with few seats in the lower house. Beatriz Carrillo (PSOE in Seville), Juan José Cortés (PP in Huelva), Ismael Cortés (In Comú Podem in Tarragona) and Sara Giménez (Citizens in Madrid) are in posts and will open a window for gypsies to express their grievances from the left to the right, with the exception of Vox.
The gypsy town celebrated its international day yesterday and in spite of the advances in education and housing -even with great deficiencies-, the experts warn of the gaps that drag on health and employment, two challenges that leave in bad place the strategies of the central and regional administrations to alleviate the gap. If the primary school enrollment rate reaches 97%, Roma workers are only 37% (83% in the general population), according to the monitoring report of the Roma population of the Ministry of Health in 2017. And the Shanty town still affects 4% of Roma and 44% of girls have never visited the dentist.
"Invisibility is the first challenge we have. And it is going to break so that the indifference to which we are subject changes, "says Beatriz Carrillo, president of the association of university gypsies. Ismael Cortés says: "There is a need for activism in the parties and that window of opportunity has also been opened for the Roma community". And Giménez praises: "We have been asking for active participation for many years to include minorities. It's a historic moment. "
That optimism of the candidates clashes with a reality of the gypsy community that advances at a slow pace, stigmatized and traditionally subjected to poverty and social exclusion. "The advance has been sensitive but the inequalities today are tremendous. 64% of gypsy children with 16 years of age do not complete compulsory secondary education, "said Isidro Rodríguez, president of the Gypsy Secretariat, the main NGO working with the Caló collective. "A gypsy standard family sees more dysfunctional aspects in education, but that can not serve as an alibi to the State to not guarantee education," he criticizes.
Education is the cornerstone that must underpin the social progress of the Roma, hence their shortcomings condition access to the labor market, housing and health conditions, and therefore their social perception. Children are often trapped between families with a backward mentality who consider education for their traditional trades and administrations to be useless, lacking in plans of crash that manage to keep them in the classrooms in order to train and prosper, experts denounce. Elementary school absenteeism remains at 22% and only 7% complete university or Vocational Training.
Andalusia hosts 40% of the Spanish Roma population. Juan Carlos Navarro is the head of the Secretariat for the Roma community on the Board: "Gender roles persist and families tell us that girls must take care of their siblings and housework, and boys must learn the trade of the father ", explains about school absenteeism. Next, Navarro complains that the school curriculum obviates symbols of its culture such as the flag or its anthem and only comes out related to "marginalization and flamenco." However, the Andalusian Board could introduce these contents, since it has the curricular power to do so.
"Although we have been working since the nineties, there is still a lot to do and unhealthy habits persist, they have worse health, and they suffer a worse labor incorporation with a model of submerged economy", admits Ana Lima, Secretary of State for Social Services and president of the Council of the Gypsy People, in whose last meeting the segregation in the schools was debated.
The prejudices about the gypsy people are there. Rodríguez points out that communities such as Castilla y León and Catalonia have invested funds to reduce the problems of segregation suffered by Roma children in certain schools.
The European Commission denounced last Friday the increase in racist attacks against Roma families in France and Italy, as well as hate speech, even among politicians. Meanwhile, in Spain the legislative effort has been very weak and the Law on Equality of Treatment and Non-Discrimination, designed to prevent inequality and provide legal arguments against attacks on minorities, remained in the pipeline with the socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and this year the same thing happened again. Still stuck in its processing in Congress.