Since ancient times, the Roma have been discriminated, marginalized, insulted in the most rude ways. When it comes to the Roma woman, things are even sadder, she being considered at the bottom of society, mocked many times even by her partner. Without studies, without perspectives, Roma women had a lot to face and there were few who managed to create a name for them selves, a career, to break the barriers of conventionality and social conceptions. In the following paragraphs, we will learn about another two of these women who, not only broke out of the patterns in which they grew up, but built a name for themselves on the domestic scene and even abroad.

Carmen Gheorghe is a researcher, activist, founder and president of The E-ROMNJA ASSOCIATION, a feminist NGO started for, by and about Roma women. She worked for The National Association for Roma People and for other numerous national NGOs such as ACCEPT, the Agenția „Împreună” pentru Dezvoltare Comunitară NGO or the Educational Fond for Roma People before starting her own NGO in 2012, Asociația E-ROMNJA, the first feminist Roma organisation in Romania.

Carmen Gheorghe’s work combines field work in local communities with awareness campaigns and writing of informative materials, all in the effort of transforming Roma women in active society citizens. E-ROMNJA projects focus on subjects such as public health access, education, domestic violence, reproductive rights, all answers to the problems the Roma community and women actually have.

In 2022, Carmen Gheorghe was one of the 12 women who won the International Women of Courage Award, given by the USA State Department, to courageous women activists who fight for peace, justice, human rights and gender equality.

Another Roma woman, who overcame her condition and came out of the precarious environment in which she grew up, is Geanina Petre. Born and raised in Ferentari, Geanina knew when to get out of that gloomy landscape and leave behind the horror stories she grew up with: drugs, prostitution, theft and even murder.

She is a young mother, works in television in a well-known media-trust, and is now writing her second book about the memories of the neighborhood where she lived, which is called: “Memories from Ferentari”. Although she always was and is a hardworking person, people preferred to see only her dark complexion, her way of speaking in a “slang” language and pointed the finger at her many times.

Even at work, she was not immune to wrong assumptions. She remembers even now that at first she tried to leave the office at once with her colleagues so that if something were to disappear from the editorial office, she would not be suspected of “stealing” it. She laughs when she tells these stories, but in her voice you can feel the bitter taste that hasn’t left her even to this day.

But how did Geanine Petre end up as a television journalist?

Geanina’s story in the world of journalism begins at the age of 20, with a radio contest, in which she was asked to write a personally composed text about a life problem. As Geanina is an expert in this kind of thing, having at hand a series of tumultuous life stories from her famous neighborhood, she responded positively to this call. Immediately she wrote and sent an article about an incident in the life of a neighbor of hers in Ferentari. The next day she was called by the editors, she signed the contract and since then she started publishing articles on that website. Her materials received a very positive feed back, being shared countless times.

She only graduated high school. She didn’t go to college, but that didn’t stop her from going even further, towards television, where she ended up, by a happy accident. She saw an ad looking for a reporter, wrote the editor-in-chief a message on Facebook, and the next day she was scheduled for an interview. The rest is “can can”, as they say. Seven years have passed since then. Geanina is still an employee of that media trust and says that now people are no longer afraid of her, even if they still make fun about her ethnicity. “If anyone still says: “Fuck the gypsies!” , quickly realizes the situation, turns to me and says: “Sorry… I’m not referring to you, you’re not like that”, says Geanina, laughing, in an interview for

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