© 2019

Gypsy and Traveller Girls

Silence, Agency and Power

  • Offers young women’s perspectives and accounts of life in the family and at school

  • Presents the girls’ culture, language, identity, thoughts and emotions

  • Serves as a portal on a closed community and re-appraises common misperceptions about Gypsies and Travellers


Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)

About this book


This book presents the untold stories of Gypsy and Traveller girls living in Scotland. Drawing on accounts of the girls’ lives and offering space for their voices to be heard, the author addresses contemporary and traditional stereotypes and racialised misconceptions of Gypsies and Travellers. Marcus explores how the stubborn persistence of these negative views appears to contribute to policies and practices of neglect, inertia or intervention that often aim to ‘civilise’ and further assimilate these communities into the mainstream settled population. It is against this backdrop that the book exposes the girls’ racialised and gendered experiences, which impact on their struggles as young people to realise their potential and future prospects. Their narratives reveal the strengths of a distinct community, and the complexity of their silence and agency within the patriarchal structures that pervade the private spaces of home and the public spaces of education. This study also invites the reader to reflect on how the experiences of Gypsy and Traveller girls compares with young women from other social backgrounds, and questions if there is more that binds us than divides us as women in the modern world.

Gypsy and Traveller Girls will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including sociology, education, gender studies and social policy.



Scotland Europe school sociology gender education race racism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowUK

About the authors

Geetha Marcus is Lecturer in Education at the University of Glasgow, UK. She is a sociologist, feminist and teacher activist.

Bibliographic information


“An excellent contribution to understanding the lives of Gypsy and Traveller girls and young women in Scotland … The book provides a nuanced insight into their lives and how through no fault of their own, other than that of their gender and ethnicity, schooling disenfranchises them through the inertia of teachers to tackle racism and their inability to provide culturally sensitive pedagogy.” (Vini Lander, University of Roehampton, UK) 

“A beautifully crafted, myth-busting book. Marcus brings her phenomenal skills as a master storyteller to prise open the silent, closed world of the young women from these outcast communities.” (Heidi Safia Mirza, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK)

“Marcus offers a new and incisive interpretation of the voices of Gypsy and Traveller girls in Scotland about their racialized, gendered, classed, and generational experiences of discrimination.” (Angéla Kóczé, Central European University, Hungary)