The RoMOMatteR project proposes that the discrimination suffered by Roma girls due to teenage motherhood being in at-risk contexts can be reversed through an empowering process that links Roma girls’ mattering to reproductive justice.
We understand reproductive justice as decision-making processes (procedural justice) and resource allocation (distributive justice) that guarantees the right of every girl of her sexual and reproductive health based on the respect to their personal autonomy, gender identity, life expectations, and the right to live in sustainable, safe, and fair communities. This process will enable at-risk Roma girls’ contexts to become agents of personal and collective change.
The acquisition of recognition (R) linked to distributive justice (DJ) implies acceptance and respect for their identities and goals and guarantee of resources. The acquisition of influence (I) linked to procedural justice (PJ) ensures fair processes in which Roma girls have their own voice and are acknowledge as political agents. Both processes are inseparable; R+DJ without I+PJ leads to passivity, dependency and welfare clientelism while I+PJ without R+DJ leads to hopelessness and distrust14.
This process will involve all relevant domains for the development of Roma girls. First, this process implies acquiring critical thinking through reflection and evaluation. Critical thinking will lead girls to identify other roles and occupations besides motherhood. Participant girls could learn that conditions in which they live might change because they are not by nature as their cultural traditions dictate and that their living conditions are not unalterable. Alternatively, critical thinking will capacitate girls to provide new meanings to their mattering and their motherhood from their cultural values and use them to imagine a thriving life. Secondly, this process will allow girls to envision new resources, roles and networks that will enable Roma girls to pursue their life goals. Finally, this process will champion Roma girls to advocate for collective actions focused on the construction of safe and healthy contexts that will allow them to decide on their mattering and choose motherhood freely. Altogether, this complex process implies the dialogical and dualistic construction of their self and life scenarios.