Review of AC Women’s Rights in Feminist Collections

Women’s history has a dual goal,” wrote Joan Kelly-Gadol in 1976: “to restore women to history and to restore our history to women.” It is critical that young women know about the women who came before them – not just so they can appreciate and acknowledge them, but also so they can learn from the strategies of their forebears and find the courage to do what needs doing in their own time. Young Canadian women can find plenty of women to learn from in this text, which is punctuated with recommendations for good reads, portraits of the trailblazers, pictures of women’s institute groups, mastheads of suffrage newspapers, and scenes from women’s protests. This volume is part of a series of books about Canada that includes poverty, immigration, and queer theory, to name but a few. Penni Mitchell, who has been a journalist and columnist and is now the managing editor of Herizons magazine, knows how to tell a story, and this volume is chock-full of compelling ones gleaned from books, dissertations, brochures, and Canadian documents. Mitchell honors pioneers of all sorts, from the First Nations women who assisted the fur trade in their roles as brokers and translators to the onetime leader of the New Democratic Party, Alexa McDonough, who brought the party’s caucus to 30 percent female after the 1997 election. Both narrative and statistics are effectively used to tell the tales. The volume also includes complete bibliographic information for the sources from which the stories are drawn. This book will fill some gaps for any Canadians who cannot name a woman in leadership who contributed to the rights they enjoy, as well as for women around the world who want to understand Canada’s particular story of the fight for women’s rights. Mitchell does not just tell stories, however, or list only the triumphs and accomplishments of Canadian women; she also draws attention, if briefly, to the intersectionality of oppressions and injustices that still exist and the fights that lie ahead. The very last section of the final chapter, accordingly, is titled “A Woman’s Work Is Never Done.”

— Kellian Clink for Feminist Collections (v.38, nos.1-2, Winter-Spring 2-17)



Don’t know your password? We can help you reset it.

Are you a student?

Answer a few questions to get a special discount code only available to students.

Your Cart

There is nothing in your cart. Go find some books!