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Canadian Govt. & Politics: Women — Clarifying

Women in Contemporary Canadian Government & Politics: Clarification and Direction: Finding the Facts

The following are sources that specifically address women in contemporary Canadian government and politics. These sources should be consulted in addition to those listed in the main sections of this guide.


Feminist Movement Builders' Dictionary. JASS. 2nd ed., 2013.

This dictionary includes definitions of political and related terms that are used internationally, but are not always clearly defined, and in some cases, co-opted. "Since feminist activists and movement-builders depend on the political meaning of words." JASS was founded in 2002 as a community of practice by activists, educators and scholars from many countries. It works to generate knowledge about power, movements and change to shape the theory, practice and policies for advancing women’s rights and democratic change. 

Figuring it Out: A Feminist Activist's (Annotated) Guide to Political Terminology. By Nancy Peckford. Information Sheets: 4. Created for the National Association of Women and the Law, for the National Roundtable on Women and Politics 2003. Ottawa, March 22-23, 2003. 5 p.

Explains key political terms in the Canadian context and their significance to women in politics.

Gender and Sexual Diversity Glossary. Translation Bureau. Updated 2019.

Close to 200 terms with definitions, notes and usage examples, in English and French,compiled from the Translation Bureau's TERMIUM database.

Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada. By Linda Trimble and Jane Arscott. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2003. 210 p.

See the glossary on p.181-185. Includes terms like "Flora syndrome", "Deb effect", etc. (Note: The glossary is not available on the book's web site.)



Facts & Figures

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Gender Quotas Database. By the International IDEA, Inter-Parliamentary Union and Stockholm University.

This database shows different types of electoral quotas used to promote the equal representation of women in Canada and in over 80 other countries.

Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada. By Linda Trimble and Jane Arscott. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2003. Reprinted, University of Toronto Press, 2008, 210 p. Excerpts, with some tables online:

Appendices 1 & 2 show tables of women legislators and senators, years served, their party and jurisdiction, from 1916-1985.

Women Candidates in General Elections: 1921 to Date. Parlinfo. Library of Parliament.

For each election date, the adjustable tables show the names of the women candidates, their occupation, party affiliation, constituency, province or territory, and whether the candidate was defeated or elected. Many names link to a biographical profile that includes the person's political experience and electoral history.


General | Dates | People | Statistics



Canadian Women in History: A Chronology. 2nd ed. By Moira Armour and Pat Staton. Toronto: Green Dragon Press, 1992. 176 p.

This is a chronological listing of events in Canadian women's history from 1007 - 1990. Political items are coded "PO".

Milestones in Canadian Women's History. By PAR-L.

This chronology of major events, including many political, covers the 1960's to the present.

Relating to Law: A Chronology of Women and Law in Canada. Ed. by Brettel Dawson. North York, ON: Captus Press, 1990. 130 p.

This book provides a chronology, with analysis, of the significant events in the legal position and struggles of Canadian women from the 1700's to the 1990's.

Timeline: Rise Up! Digital Archive of Feminist Activism.

A timeline of significant political events, among others, that reflect feminist organizing for social, political, and economic change in Canada. The archive includes digitized newsletters, magazines and other publications created by feminist groups across Canada.

Women's Right to Vote in Canada. Parlinfo. Library of Parliament.

A timeline of the dates and statute citations and notes for the Canadian federal and provincial/territorial laws enacting the right to vote for women.

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. By Mart Martin. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000. 466 p.

The section on women in Canada (pp. 61–65) includes a list of the first women to hold important political, government, legislative and judicial positions, and women who provided "notable service in cabinet".

Canadian Women of Note (C.W.O.N.). Comp. by the Media Club of Canada. Toronto: Institute for Social Research, York University, 1994. 2 vols., 1108 p.

Brief biographical sketches on "well-known Canadian women", from 1867 on.

Firekeepers of the Twenty-first Century: First Nations Women Chiefs. By Cora J. Voyageur. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008. 181 p.

Profiles 64 of the 90 women who have served as elected First Nations chiefs. Includes additional research material from interviews, surveys, focus groups and more.

Leading Ladies Canada. By Jean Bannerman. Belleville, ON: Mika Publishing, 1977. 581 p.

Chapter 10 on politics is a biographical essay on dozens of women active in federal, provincial and local politics.

Parliamentarians, 1867 to present. Parlinfo. Library of Parliament.

Shows all Members of Parliament and Senators since 1867. Details include mandate, roles, biographical information and more. Table can be customized to show only female MPs and Senators.

Who's Who of Canadian Women. Toronto: Trans-Canada Press, 1983 – . Available in print and on CD-ROM.

Provides brief biographical entries for women in all fields nominated by editorial staff and the public.

Women in Canadian History Collection. In The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Includes dozens of biographical articles on women in Canadian government and politics.

Women in Federal Politics: A Bio-Bibliography. By Gwynneth Evans. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1975. 81p.

Provides a short biographical sketch of 41 women members of the House of Commons and Senate since 1921 as well as a brief bibliography of their writings and a general bibliography on women in Canadian federal politics.

See also the Note on Major Biographies in the Facts & Figures section of the main part of this guide.

General | Dates | People | Statistics


Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics. Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada topic page grouping together relevant data tables. Also has links to the federal government's gender based analysis tools and international sources for gender-related statistics.

Women and Elections. In Elections website by Andrew Heard, Simon Fraser University.

Provides statistics on women candidates in federal elections from 2004 to 2011.

Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report. Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2018. 7th ed. Cat. no.89-503-X. Updated approximately every 5 years. 1st ed. 1985. Title varies.

A major compilation of general statistics on women, covering topics like health, population, criminal system, income, education, etc. (Scroll down to see earlier editions.)

Provincial and territorial statistics related to women:

Statistics Canada and the departments and agencies in each province responsible for women's issues publish provincial/territorial compilations of statistics related to women. Some examples: Selected Statistics on Ontario Women, Women in Prince Edward Island: A Statistical Review, Women in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Statistical Compendium, Report Card on the Status of Women in New Brunswick, etc.

TIP: Search your library's catalogue using the keywords in the subject field: statistics and women and [the name of the province] to find these.

Finding Aids:

Finding Data on Women: A Guide to the Major Data Sources at Statistics Canada. By Marcia Almey, Target Groups Analysis Project, Statistics Canada. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada, 2007. 139,143 p. Eng/Fre

Provides pointers on how to find major statistical surveys, analytical articles, books, and other Statistics Canada data sources that include statistical information on women in Canada.

NOTE: Use for general social statistics; not specific to government or politics.

Overview & Background Information

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers


100 Questions About Women and Politics. By Manon Tremblay. McGill-Queen's University Press, 3rd ed., 2018. 320 p.

Functions as an encyclopedia, with concise responses informed by academic research, to the major questions about women and politics in Canada and abroad.

Gender and Elections. ACE Encyclopedia. By ACE: The Electoral Knowledge Network.

The ACE Network was created by the UN, International IDEA and IFES in 1998. The website is a knowledge repository for electoral information. The Gender and Elections portion of the ACE Encyclopedia is an extensive collection of concise, well-documented information. Includes key concepts, barriers to participation, legal frameworks and provisions, and many other ways to promote gender equality in politics and the electoral process.

Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge. Ed. by Cheris Kramarae and Dale Spender. 4 vols. New York: Routledge, 2000. Also available as an ebook.

This general encyclopedia on women and women's issues includes articles on government, politics and political participation which provide a good overview of the issues in Canada and the rest of the world.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Annual Reviews:

The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada: The Gender Gap in Canada's 26 Biggest Cities. (Sub-title varies.) Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). 2014 - .

Annual look at the gap in men and women's access to economic and personal security, health, education, and positions of leadership in Canada's largest cities, and some of the cities' efforts to close the gap.

Canadian Yearbook of Human Rights. University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre. 2015 - .

Provides a review of key developments in human rights in Canada, global human rights developments relevant to Canada, and peer-reviewed articles on human rights issues. An earlier version, called Canadian Human Rights Yearbook was published 1983-1992.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Textbooks (Selected Titles):

In the Presence of Women: Representation in Canadian Governments. Ed. by Jane Arscott and Linda Trimble. Toronto: Harcourt Brace, 1997. 387 p.

Covers major themes related to women in Canadian government and politics. Includes women's representation in aboriginal self-government and women in provincial political systems.

Opening Doors Wider: Women's Political Engagement in Canada. Ed. by Sylvia Bashevkin. UBC Press, 2010. 236 p.

Scholarly essays cover the contributions of women to public life in Canada , how these have "opened doors", problems remaining, and solutions.

Palgrave Handbook of Gender, Sexuality, and Canadian Politics. Ed. by Manon Tremblay and Joanna Everitt. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 541 p.

Re-analyzes scholarship on Canadian politics through the lens of gender.

Stalled: The Representation of Women in Canadian Governments. Ed. by Linda Trimble, Jane Arscott and Manon Tremblay. UBC Press, 2013. 360 p.

Chapters by top scholars in the field report on the number of elected women at all levels of government. Tables show changes over time and comparisons across the country.

Still Counting: Women in Politics Across Canada. By Linda Trimble and Jane Arscott. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2003. 210 p.

Explains why women's participation in politics is important, shows the progress made, and the work that remains.

Toeing the Lines: Women and Party Politics in English Canada. By S. B. Bashevkin. 2nd ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993. 182 p.

Women and Electoral Politics in Canada. Ed. by Manon Tremblay and Linda Trimble. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2003. 256 p.

Has articles from top scholars in the field.

Women and Political Representation in Canada. Ed. by Manon Tremblay and Caroline Andrew. Women's Studies Series, No. 2. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1998. 372 p.

A collection of 12 essays on women's political involvement in traditional and non-traditional ways.

Women and Politics in Canada. By Janine Brodie. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1985. 145 p.

One of the first textbooks on this topic, frequently cited.

Women and Politics in Canada. By Heather MacIvor. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 1996. 413 p. (Republished by U. of Toronto Press in 2013 and 2019.)

Intended as an introductory text for 1st-year university students, this book covers women and public policy as well as women in politics.

Women, Politics and Public Policy: The Political Struggles of Canadian Women. By Linda White, Jacquetta Newman and Tammy Findlay. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2020. 432 p.

Covers feminism, women's politics, and public policy-making within a Canadian context.

Encyclopedias | Annual Reviews | Textbooks | Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers

Parliamentary and Legislative Research Papers:

Electoral Systems and Women's Representation. By Erin Virgint. Background Paper 2016-30-E. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Information and Research Service, 2016. 11 p.

Female Representation in the Senate, the House of Commons, and Provincial and Territorial Legislative Assemblies. By Elaine Campbell. Current Issue Paper 56. Toronto: Ontario Legislative Library, Research and Information Services, 2001. 31 p.

Includes many tables showing the level of female representation in the federal and provincial government with background notes, international comparisons, and a bibliography.

The Gender Gap: Women's Political Power. By John Terry. Current Issue Review 84-17E. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 1984. 15 p.

How Can Present Imbalances in the Participation of Men and Women in Political Life be Redressed? By Francoise Coulombe. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Research Branch, 1995. 12 p.

The Status of Gender Equality in Canada: Reflecting on the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. By Clare Annett and Dominique Montpetit. HillNotes. Library of Parliament. Oct. 2020.

Women In Parliament. By Julie Cool. Background Paper 2011-56-E . Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Parliamentary Information and Research Branch. Revised July 2013. 18 p.

Women in the Parliament of Canada. By Dominique Montpetit. HillNotes. Ottawa: Library of Parliament, 2020.