Roma are a large ethnic minority group in Bulgaria. As many as 60 different Roma groups live in the country, representing a wide-range of cultures, religions, traditions, and livelihoods. Although diverse in many regards, Roma throughout Bulgaria struggle with one primary development challenge: poverty. As many as one out of every three Roma lives in extreme poverty - earning less than $4.30 a day - compared to just one in twenty among the rest of the population. Approximately 86% of Roma belong to the bottom 40% of the income group in Bulgaria. But poverty alone is not the only challenge Roma are coping with. According to a new World Bank report, Roma face a variety of challenges that can adversely affect their strategic life choices, such as those concerning education, employment, and family formation.
The report, Gender Dimensions of Roma Inclusion: perspectives from four Roma communities in Bulgaria, takes a closer look at gender as a key factor for inclusion and tries to find answers to the question of how gender affects strategic life choices of Bulgarian Roma when it comes to education, employment and marriage. The study was carried out by conducting a series of focus group discussions and interviews in four locations across the country (see the Info Graphic), seeking to identify some of the differences between Roma who are more and less integrated with wider society.