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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $24.95

Paperback 304 pp.
6" x 9"



Publication date:
January 2016

Imprint: OUP Canada

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Canadian Women and the Struggle for Equality

Lorna R. Marsden

What range of possibilities might appear on the horizon to a young woman today as she contemplates her future compared to those envisioned by a young woman 150 years ago? And how would her daily life be different? The degree of change in women's lives in Canada over the last 150 years is staggering, and much is the result of the fight for greater equality. How did this change take place?

Establishing equality as a fact of daily life has been a protracted struggle, and one that remains far from finished. Over the last century and a half since Confederation, this struggle has taken on a unique character in Canada, given our country's peculiar circumstances. Lorna R. Marsden, sociologist and activist - who has herself been involved in the action - chronicles the circumstances, the people, and the social changes that have characterized women's journey down the long road toward equality. Her account considers changes brought about by such forces as war, immigration, and public health, as well as other complex historical changes, such as legal evolution and employment opportunities.

This fascinating book is full of insight, little known facts (for example, many women could vote as early as 1791 in some parts of Canada), and an understanding of the complex ways that a society like Canada can and does change. It also reminds us that there is still a distance to go in the journey toward equality.

Readership : This book will be of interest to readers of women's studies, Canadian social and economic history, Canadian legal history, and Canadian labour history, as well as many general readers interested in issues of equality and democracy.

1. The Setting and the Purpose
2. Women Struggle with the Law: The Law Struggles with Women
3. Women, War, and Social Change in Canada
4. Demographics Change Women's Lives
5. How Women Changed Canada
6. Making a Living: A Perpetual Frontier for Women
7. The Continuation: Patterns of Change

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Lorna R. Marsden is a sociologist, activist, and former politician. She was the president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University and York University and sat in the Canadian Senate from 1984 to 1992. She is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

Women, Power, Politics - Sylvia Bashevkin
Women and Electoral Politics in Canada - Edited by Manon Tremblay and Linda Trimble
Rethinking Canada - Edited by Mona Gleason, Tamara Myers and Adele Perry

Special Features

  • Multidisciplinary. Marsden's approach draws on insights from sociology, history, political science, legal studies, labour history, and women's studies.
  • Breaks new ground. More than a straightforward history, this book considers often-overlooked topics such as birth control, abortion, employment opportunities, and the role of immigration.
  • Forward looking. A final chapter looks to the future, outlining areas of women's lives that still need to be improved.
  • Expansive. This is a story nearly 150 years old, chronicling the path toward equality since the time of Confederation.
  • Award-winning author. Lorna R. Marsden has received numerous distinctions, including the Order of Canada and being named Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women for four consecutive years.
  • Uniquely Canadian. The factors that set Canada apart, from our federal structure to our health care system to our role as an immigrant-receiving nation, are considered.
  • Quick-reference chronology. A timeline in each chapter provides at-a-glance reference points for key moments in the journey toward equality.