Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers
Census 2021 findings
Participants’ accounts portray considerable variation in the individual preference for a nomadic lifestyle, which impacts personal circumstances such as access to services, employment and family relationships.
Close relationships with family were recurrently described as fundamental to Gypsy and Traveller values and well-being, but a move away from traditional lifestyles and, with this, greater separation from family, was felt to be occurring.
Diverse views were expressed on gender roles, with some stepping outside of what were seen as traditional gender roles among Gypsies and Travellers, and emphasising the importance of education for young women, while others valued arrangements described as traditional among Gypsies and Travellers, such as men being the primary breadwinners, while women are responsible for care of family members and the home, with their work outside the home flexing around these roles.
A range of experiences and relationships were described regarding non-travelling communities; some felt comfortable and accepted while others described past negative interactions resulting in wariness of the settled community and a preference for socialising with other Gypsies and Travellers.
As well as a sense of loss associated with an evolving culture, some participants focused on new opportunities for themselves and the next generation, embracing new ideas and values, for example, in relation to education, housing, healthcare and gender roles.
Running through participants’ accounts were experiences of perceived prejudice and hostility in many aspects of life, which influenced decisions about whether to disclose or avoid revealing their Gypsy or Traveller identity with employers, educators and non-travelling people; in some cases, the choice was removed and they were “outed” either directly by others or indirectly by their accent, address or surname.
Throughout discussions about sharing their identity, participants recurrently expressed a desire to be recognised as an individual, not on the basis of preconceived ideas about their ethnic group.