2. Women’s Movements & Feminist Theories

“Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”

bell hooks (1984) in Feminist Theory: From Margin to Centre

Photo of crowd gathered for Edmonton Women’s March

Photo credit: Paula Eve Kirman WordsPicturesMusic.com


In the first module, we learned about the emergence of Women’s and Gender Studies in the context of the women’s movement — a new social movement that emerged in the 1960s alongside other social justice movements, including: the civil rights movement, Indigenous decolonization movements, environmentalist movements, and anti-war movements.  In this lesson, we will deepen our analysis of the women’s movement, identifying feminist critiques of patriarchy and gender, discussing key moments in the Canadian women’s movement, and examining exclusions and divisions within the Canadian women’s movement.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Describe the unique contours of the women’s movement in Canada, identifying exclusions and divisions
  • Explain the significance of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women and the patriation of the constitution
  • Define the following terms: patriarchy, feminism, liberal feminism, and radical feminism
  • Explain how some feminist and trans scholars describe the complex relationship between sex and gender

Moving Forward




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