Multiple Struggles in Fighting Violence Against Women: Implications Among Roma Women Leaders in Spain

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Eva ESPINAR-RUIZ, University of Alicante, Spain
Carmen VIVES-CASES, University of Alicante, Spain
Violence against women is a central issue in global feminism and one that has united feminist activists from around the world. But this does not mean that the struggle is a single one: indeed, one can say that there are many, diverse and sometimes even contradictory struggles occurring throughout the world. In this presentation, we aim to highlight the struggle among Roma women leaders in Spain. We will present the results of a qualitative study with twelve women leaders of Roma associations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and then analyzed using thematic analysis. The resulting themes included: strategies used to address gender-based violence, perceptions of gender relations and violence against women in the general population and in particular the Roma population, discourses regarding the role their organizations play/can play in preventing violence against women, and differences in discourses between diverse groups of (Roma) women, especially between those who are involved in mixed-gender organizations and those involved in women-only organizations.

The analysis allows us a closer approximation of how Roma women leaders perceive gender identities, gender relations and violence against women as well as the relationship between these elements and their collective action. Thus, our ultimate goal is to demonstrate how Roma women activists in Spain negotiate around different, and sometimes contradictory, ethnic and gender identities, from a position that involves, to varying degrees, sharing, knowing, understanding and assessing the social norms dominant in their contexts. These processes of negotiation also imply some of the components of the global feminism imaginary, with a conflictual relationship that will be analyzed through the activists' discourse.