The Canadian Feminist Thesaurus


683 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7744-0346-2
DDC 025.4'93054





Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is a free-lance writer living in Ajax, Ontario.


This book is an invaluable reference for anyone interested in women’s
issues in Canada. The book outlines, in succinct and useful fashion,
virtually all terms currently important in the discussion of women’s

The book’s intent is limited, and with good result. It does not
define or judge; rather, it presents, groups, and relates the terms that
have emerged and developed from the literature of Canadian women’s
studies and the Canadian women’s movement from 1972 to 1985. Most of
the terms (about 95 percent), are “authorized or used” terms, while
the remainder are alternative, or unused, terms that refer users to
preferred terms. For example, Household Labour refers the user to the
preferred term Domestic Labour.

The book comprises two complete thesauruses, one English and one
French. Wherever possible, the English term is matched with the French
equivalent, and vice versa. Each entry lists broader, narrower, and
related terms. Under Domestic Labour, for instance, the broader term is
Labour, the narrower terms are House Cleaning, and Unpaid Household
Labour, and the related terms include Devaluation, Domestic Workers,
Economic Value of Women’s Work, Homemaking, Household Division of
Labour, Housework, Sexual Division of Labour, and Wages for Housework.

The book also includes a very useful rotated index, which lists terms
alphabetically within their “full context.”

Scope notes are provided for terms that have a specific context, or
require clarification. For example, the term Purdah is followed by the
scope note “Islamic and Hindu practice of secluding women; literally a
curtain or veil used to hide women from men.”

This thesaurus is not only a useful reference; it is interesting
reading in its own right. The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
and the Canadian Women’s Indexing Group have contributed greatly to
the informed discussion of women’s issues.


Canadian Women's Indexing Group., “The Canadian Feminist Thesaurus,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,