Irish travellers and teenage pregnancy: a feminist, cultural, relativist analysis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Views of teenage parenting can be culturally situated, as explored in this chapter in the context of an indigenous minority population in the Republic of Ireland – Irish Travellers (‘Travellers’). The demographic profile of Travellers is of a young population, due to high mortality rates. Traveller culture is changing, but shows strong adherence to patriarchy and pro-natalism, with an emphasis on chastity for Traveller girls, young marriage and childbearing. Teenage pregnancy outside of marriage brings shame for the Traveller girl and her family whilst, conversely, teenage pregnancy of a young bride is a cause for pride and happiness. Therefore, I argue that for Travellers ‘teenage pregnancy’ per se is not constructed as problematic; rather it is pregnancy outside of marriage that is constructed as problematic. Adopting a feminist cultural relativist approach, I argue that the role of Traveller women and girls could be re/assembled, but only with impetus from Traveller women and girls themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe/Assembling the Pregnant and Parenting Teenager
Subtitle of host publicationNarratives from the field(s)
EditorsAnnelies Kamp, Majella McSharry
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9781787075146, 9781787075139
ISBN (Print)9781787071803
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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