The second Public debate took place on 19th May in the town of Plovdiv.

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The theme of the debate was: "The realization of Roma women"

Among the participants was a chief expert with the Regional Council on Ethnic and Demographic Issues, and a junior expert on ethnic and demographic issues with the Maritsa municipality, the Mayor (woman) of the village of Kostievo that has a compact Roma community, Roma women from NGOs in the town of Kouklen who are working very successfully on international projects and running an educational center.
Well-educated and successful Roma women were presented at the meeting. They told the participants about their way to success and the discrimination they faced during their personal and professional development. According to their experience, discrimination still exists, particularly when employment is concerned. One of the women said she was not hired as a kindergarten teacher in spite of her higher education and suitable qualifications, and now she is forced to work in a sewing factory. The representative of the Regional Council on Ethnic and Demographic Issues promised to assist this woman in finding professional realization and encouraged the Roma women to seek help when discriminated and to communicate actively with the institutions because very often they are not aware of Roma women's problems.
Only one media - Evrokom - Plovdiv TV sent a journalist to report the Public debate. The project coordinator Kalinka Slivkova was interviewed. Unfortunately, the journalist expressed an extremely negative attitude to the Roma community and asked provocative questions bordering on racism, making comments such as these: "the Roma community to be locked away in ghettoes", "Roma women in Parliament would be a disgrace to our country", "money wasted on projects for the Roma", etc. This was another lesson learned about the need to work with the media because they have the power to construct or break stereotypes, to support or deny certain causes thus influencing the general public and affecting the whole society.

Kalinka Slivkova - Project coordinator 25th May 2006