Women's Culture: Selected Papers from the Halifax Conference


61 pages
ISBN 0-919653-03-0




Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is a professor of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University, an associate fellow of the Simone de Beauvoir
Institute, and author of Margaret Laurence: The Long Journey Home.


This issue of The CRIAW Papers contains five essays drawn from various academic disciplines representing different aspects of research into women’s culture. The papers were originally presented at the 1981 CRIAW Conference in Halifax.

Donna Smyth, Planning Committee representative, notes in her Introduction that the conference has drawn women of different ages, classes, ethnic groups, and races. There are rural women and academics; journalists, politicians, and artists.

Two of the papers are in French and three in English. Sociologist Thelma McCormick, in “Rethinking Women’s Culture,” redefines it to include a political factor, “an undeclared potential for the culture to transform itself into a social movement, to become an active agent of change.” Lynn Penrod, an Albertan lawyer, examines “Images of Women in Fairy Tales” and reveals that the mother is often passive or terrifying: when she is good, she frequently dies; when she is bad, she lives; and her only active function is motherhood. Papers by Margret Andersen and Helga Jacobson, and a joint paper by Lionel Groulx and Charlotte Poirier, examine women’s work, writings, and social services. Styles and methodologies vary enormously, while a common commitment forms a tangible bond.

The CRIAW Papers are a continuing series of soft-cover publications in which research papers advance knowledge and foster understanding of women’s experience. This publication captures a small part of the Halifax conference’s diversity.


“Women's Culture: Selected Papers from the Halifax Conference,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 7, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38977.