A new World Bank study has found that out of the 165,000 Roma of working age officially registered in Slovakia, only 20 percent of men and 9 percent of women have a job. By comparison, that is less than half the rate among Roma in Romania and Bulgaria. As many as 87 percent of Roma households live in poverty and every third Roma child goes to sleep hungry at least once a month, the Sme daily reported, quoting the findings of the study.
The World Bank's analysts based their survey on polling among more than 3,500 Roma. They found that most Roma want to work, but discrimination by employers and low qualifications make this difficult. Katarína Mathernová, one of the co-authors of the study, said that the issue is a huge social complication which could hold the country back in the future, given current demographic trends. Mathernová explained that the study was conducted after a request from the Slovak Labour Ministry; she said that it is normal in other countries to make ethnically-focused studies in order to make aid and public policy better targeted.
If the conditions are not created for better education and future employment of Roma, Sme quoted Mathernová as saying, this will have dire consequences, as the social and pensions system will become ever more dependent on the skills and productivity of today’s young Roma.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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