The Roma community chooses its headman, who stands before the authorities representing his tribe. The headman is responsible for the actions of his tribe and therefore knows every family in the tribe. Next to him stands the Gypsy mother who is in charge of preserving Gypsy customs and giving advice. She is a respectable figure in the Roma community.
In different communities the Roma family can be patriarchal or matriarchal. Families are large with many children.
Traditional Roma especially value extended families. Virginity is very important for unmarried women. Men and women often marry very young, on the average between 15 and 25 years of age.