Agrarian Feminism: The Politics of Ontario Farm Women


255 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7756-0
DDC 305.4'09713




Reviewed by Terry A. Crowley

Terry A. Crowley is an associate professor of history at the University
of Guelph and the author of Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality.


Political scientist Louise Carbert expands our knowledge about diversity
in the countryside in this study of 117 farm women engaged in commodity
production in Ontario’s Huron and Grey Counties. Much of the book is
devoted to Carbert’s analysis of an extensive questionnaire. Because
the majority of those sampled were members of the Women’s Institutes,
the result is unrepresentative, although still highly informative.
Carbert found that less than a quarter of these women were positive
about feminist values such as role equity with men, self-assertion, and
autonomy. She also found that physical labor was a key variable in
creating more egalitarian marriages. Farm women who labor, she
concludes, may be the real feminists, even though they do not conform to
accepted definitions.


Carbert, Louise I., “Agrarian Feminism: The Politics of Ontario Farm Women,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 18, 2024,