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Barbara Giovanna Bello is an outstanding gender activist, dedicated to social justice and human rights of both young and adult women. She works across a range of different activities, all broadly relating to anti-discrimination, equal opportunities and empowerment. All are central in Barbara’s training and advocacy education seminars which focus on human rights education. She also undertakes gender-related research.
As a human rights youth trainer, facilitated through non-formal education, she focuses primarily on minority youth gender and sexual orientation inequalities. These challenge the socially constructed categories of “minority youth” and seek to dismantle traditional women’s subordination in patriarchal communities, through the education and knowledge of both young men and women.
Other activities include the empowerment of Roma young women and other young women with migration, of ‘minority’ background, with the involvement of men in the enhancement of women’s rights.
Barbara says “I consider my self working ‘at the crossroad’ of three main roads called, ‘non formal education in the youth field’, ‘research’ and ‘law practice’, because I am involved in human rights education and advocacy in many different ways. Since 1998, in the capacity of free- lance trainer I have been involved in many seminars and training courses aimed at human rights education, both at the local and at the international level. Believing that non formal education and formal education can mutually nurture each other, I have been accomplishing a PhD research on the EU anti-discrimination policy in relation with young people belonging to ethnic minorities. As a law practitioner, I am involved in human rights advocacy. Hope to meet you one day at the crossroad!”
In the academic field, Barbara is engaged in gender studies, giving among the first contributions on the starting debate on intersectionality She also authored a number of articles that promote the culture of respect and dignity of women, the situation of Roma women in the 21st century; as well as the awareness-raising of gender rights, in a multicultural society. Recently, she has contributed to the Encyclopaedia of Women in Today's World, and, the Multimedia Encyclopaedia of Women in Today's World (Sage Publication), that look at women today, and delve into the various aspects of being female in the 21st century. Barbara is a member of the European Women Scientists’ Association.
The Roma of Central and South Eastern Europe’s unemployment rate is 100% in some rural areas. This has resulted in the Roma’s increased dependence on government benefits. The lack of formal education still remains unable to provide a full explanation of the relatively high unemployment rates faced by Roma and that at least part of the problem arises from discrimination in employment. Roma are also disproportionately employed in low-quality jobs in the informal sector.