ILLITERACY AND LOW LEVEL OF EDUCATION AS A BARRIER FOR ROMA TO ENTERING THE LABOUR MARKET
Keywords:illiteracy, unemployment, Roma
Roma women represent the most vulnerable segment of the Roma population in the whole world as well as in Croatia. The aim of the study was to analyse the unemployment rate among Roma women living in isolated, segregated Roma settlements/ghettos and to compare it with secondary data on Roma employment status in the entire Roma population. Another aim was to determine the extent to which the low level of education of Roma women affects the low employment rate and how specific age structure affects their educational and employment status.The starting hypothesis was that Roma women living in isolated Roma settlements/ghettos, away from the majority of the population, had lower educational and employment status than Roma at the level of the entire Roma population, and that low levels of education and a high rate of illiteracy were a significant obstacle to the employment of Roma women. The field research was conducted using a survey on a proportionate stratified sample of 350 Roma women from 12 mostly isolated Roma settlement/ghettos in Međimurje County. The results showed that almost half of the Roma women were unemployed, i.e. in the questionnaire they stated that they "never do paid jobs". In addition, outside the labour market, which implies some form of a more permanent employment relationship, there were still a further 16.9% of Roma women who worked only „occasional jobs from time to time" or did "seasonal jobs“, whereby Roma women do the lowest paid jobs, without qualifications and without the prospect of access to health and pension insurance and a whole range of other employment rights. At the same time, the educational structure of Roma women in Roma settlements/ghettos showed that there were 42 (12.0%) respondents without any education, and only 14.0% attended first four grades of primary school. Almost twice as many, 26.9%, completed fifth to seventh grade of primary school, which totals 52.9% of respondents who did not complete primary school. The highest percentage of respondents - 35.4%, stated that they have completed primary school which, in total with those who did not complete primary school, makes up 90% of the subjects living in the Roma settlements/ghettos which have either completed the primary school level of education or lower than that. Secondary vocational school was completed by 8.3% of them, while the level of gymnasium or four-year school was completed by only 7 respondents (2.0%). The bachelor level of education was completed by 4 or 1.1% of the respondents, and the university level by only one respondent, or 0.3%.Results have shown that investing in Roma women's education is a good or the only way to improve their competitiveness in the labour market.
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