Barbara Gabeler

Thesis title: 'A conspiracy of silence: abortion, birth control and eugenics in twentieth-century Scotland'


Born and raised in Rotterdam. I moved to Glasgow in 2016 to pursue a joint-honours degree (MA) in History and Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow. During my undergraduate degree, I developed a keen interest in gender history and the history of medicine, and more specifically in topics at the intersection of these fields, such as reproductive health and population policy. Following my MA, I pursued an MSc in Gender History in 2020 at the same institution.

In September 2022, I started my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, with cross-institutional supervision between Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow. I am immensely grateful to have been awarded a SGSAH AHRC DTP Studentship to fund this research.


  • MSc Gender History, with Distinction (University of Glasgow, 2020 - 2021)

Dissertation: ‘The most defenceless of the British subjects of the Queen’: The prostitute and prostitution in the Scottish popular imagination between 1840 – 1892

  • MA History and Economic and Social History, First Class Hons (University of Glasgow, 2016 - 2020)

Dissertation: Only Wunschkinder: A comparative study of discourses on abortion in media and state policies in East and West Germany between 1945 – 1977

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Admin and social media officer for the Histories of Gender and Sexuality Research Group

Undergraduate teaching

  • The Historian's Toolkit (HIST08032)

Current research interests

My PhD explores the Scottish birth control movement from c. 1920 to the 1967 Family Planning Act, examining the Scottish birth control clinics and those interest groups involved in the wider campaign to integrate the provision of contraceptives into regular health services, as well as the voices of resistance. In particular, it seeks to examine to what extent the Scottish movement was shaped by contemporary population debates and eugenics.