Abstract: Aim: To present a protocol study directed at tackling gender discrimination against Roma girls by empowering their mattering so they can envision their own futures and choose motherhood only if—and when—they are ready. Background: Motherhood among Roma girls (RGM) in Europe impoverishes their lives, puts them at risk of poor physical and mental health and precipitates school dropouts. Overwhelming evidence affirms that the conditions of poverty and the social exclusionary processes they suffer have a very important explanatory weight in their sexual and reproductive decisions. Methods: Through a Community-based Participatory Action Research design, 20–25 Roma girls will be recruited in each one of the four impoverished communities in Bulgaria, Romania and Spain. Data collection and analysis: Desk review about scientific evidences and policies will be carried out to frame the problem. Narratives of Roma women as well as baseline and end line interviews of girl participants will be collected through both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Quantitative data will be gathered through reliable scales of mattering, socio–political agency, satisfaction with life and self. A narrative analysis of the qualitative information generated in the interviews will be carried out. Expected results: (1) uncover contextual and psychosocial patterns of girl-motherhood among Roma women; (2) build critical thinking among Roma girls to actively participate in all decisions affecting them and advocate for their own gender rights within their communities; and (3) empower Roma girls and their significant adults to critically evaluate their own initiatives and provide feedback to their relevant stakeholders. Conclusions: Roma girls will improve their educational aspirations and achievements and their social status while respecting and enhancing Roma values.
Keywords: Roma girls, mattering, reproductive justice, community based participatory action research, photovoice.