Glossary – “Words to Try”


way to describe people who are not limited by physical impairments


individual or institutional discrimination against people with disabilities


the capacity an individual has to choose and to act


a person who is not a member of, but supports the rights and interests of, a marginalized group

Anti-racist feminisms

diverse perspectives/movements that seek to reveal the interlocking relationships between sexism, colonialism, and racism


a word to describe any phenomenon that has intersecting social and biological causes or effects

Blended family

parents and their children from previous relationships who form new family attachments together

Bodily autonomy

the right to independently govern one's own body


an economic system where private trade adjudicates the circulation of the resources necessary for surviving and thriving

Childless/childfree family

a couple who cannot or choose not to have children

Chosen family

group of people that fulfill significant familial-like roles in each other’s lives


someone who identifies as the gender associated with their sex assigned at birth per dominant gender ideology

Compulsory heterosexuality

the enforcement of heterosexuality as a normative system that entrenches men’s access to women physically, economically, and emotionally

Conservative feminism

arguments and movements to celebrate and support women's traditional social roles


of or relating to the body 


shared ways of life associated with beliefs, values, rituals, good, art, and the like; the shared ideas of "a good life"


breaking of social norms


any condition that hinders an individual’s ability to fully and equally participate in society


an ideology that sees various aspects of reality as divided into two parts or options


a movement and analysis that identifies sexism, racism, classism, and ecological/environmental degradation as having the same cause in patriarchy, colonialism, and other social oppressions


a unified understanding of the body, where the body has corporeal, subjective, and cultural significance

Emotional labour

work that attends to the emotional needs of others


evaluating other cultures by comparing them to one's own; ideology that one's own culture is superior to others

Extended family

multiple generations in one unit related by blood, marriage, or choice


conceptual values for how a family should function, as well as the ideal vision of what a family should be


denigration of fat bodies and discrimination against fat people


theories, analyses, and practices (such as activism) that address the roles of gender, sex, and sexuality in social phenomena

Feminist technology

a technology that improves the lives of women through its design or use, whether intended or unintended

Food desert

neighbourhoods that lack accessible grocery stores


describing the possibility of continued existence into the future


cultural and social roles, expectations, behaviours, values, and assumptions associated with masculinity or femininity

Gender binary

the idea that there are only two genders, masculine and feminine

Gender dysphoria

a psychological term for distress associated with a strong desire to be another gender

Gender essentialism

the idea that gender identity is inherent in biological sex differences

Gender fluidity

a flexible understanding, expression, or identity of gender

Gender policing

the act of influencing or requiring a certain gender expression of someone

Gender roles

roles or behaviours assigned as appropriate for a gender

Gender wage gap

a measurable difference in what men are paid compared to women

Gender-affirming care

treatments that reduce gender dysphoria and validate gender identity and health goals

Gender-based analysis

research that attends to how gender influences or impacts how people experience policies, programs, and laws


when something, such as an object, role, or quality, has had a gender assigned to it

Gendered division of labour

inequality of job opportunities and pay due to the ideological attributions of tasks given to men versus women


the act of ascribing or requiring a gender of someone or something


ideologically motivated definitions of health, especially those that come from assumptions/stereotypes about groups of people

Hegemonic masculinity

ideology that encourages men to be stereotypically physically strong, unemotional, dominant, and aggressive


belief that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation


a ranked system in which groups of people are organized according to status


prejudice against or dislike of gay people 


A set of shared beliefs about how the world is and ought to be.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs)

material artifacts used to communicate information, practices people engage in to communicate information, and the social arrangements that build up around them in this process

Institutional racism

discrimination based on membership in a particular racialized group within an institution

Institutional sexism

discrimination based on gender or sex within an institution


a concept describing the interconnected and overlapping nature of social oppressions and privileges


a person born with anatomical reproductive characteristics that do not fit clearly into 'male' or 'female'

Intimate partner violence

physical, emotional, or sexual abuses that occur in the context of intimate partner relationships

Invisible labour

work that is unaccounted form, unnoticed, and uncompensated 


networks of intimate social relationships


lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, and other ways that people identify as not conforming to dominant gender ideology and/or heteronormativity

Liberal feminism

men and women should have equal rights and opportunities in terms of citizenship status, personhood, and positions of power

Male gaze

the representation of women in media as objects for men's sexual gratification


a social process of exclusion, where the valuation of, attention to, and care for certain groups or individuals is diminished; pushing certain groups "to the margins" of a society


espousing and prioritizing values associated with the masculinity defined by dominant gender ideology

Mental health

psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing

Mental load

he mental demands of organizing and maintaining a household or family


hatred towards women


ideological descriptions of roles a mother should take in a family


women's work of nurturing and taking care of children


physical, mental, and emotional labour provided to families, mostly performed invisibly by women


a way to describe people who differ from what is considered normal neurological, intellectual, or mental functioning


a way to describe people whose cognition, intellect, or behaviour is considered normal


a gender identity that does not conform to either exclusively masculine or feminine ideals

Nuclear family

the partnership of two heterosexual adults united by marriage and their minor children

Nuclear/traditional family

a married, heterosexual couple and their offspring in one household


the degrading treatment of a person as an object


the process of taking an abstract idea, like a value, and translating it into a practice, behaviour, or procedure


injustice that arises from social hierarchies

Paid Labour

hourly wage or salary for work

Participatory action research

research with a community with the goal to create something that benefits the community


a social system that enables men to better survive, thrive, and provide in society writ large compared to women


an act that through repetition gives power to social and cultural norms and ideals


institutional decision-making 

Primary socialization

the learning of behaviours and norms during one's younger years typically spent with family


an advantage, special right, or benefit that only a certain group or person has


not cisgender, cissex, heterosexual, or other identifiers of dominant gender ideology


a group or individual who comes to be defined by supposed racial traits


discrimination on the basis of real or presumed membership within particular racialized groups; belief that some racial groups are superior/inferior

Radical feminism

patriarchy is the root cause of women's oppression

Rape culture

the normalizing and trivializing of sexual assault


an approach that acknowledges and takes account of the role of the researcher in the production of knowledge


how certain groups are depicted in media, such as through stereotypes or specific repeated narratives; or, the proportion of a group within a certain institution, such as the number of women principals in a school district

Reproductive justice

a concept that combines social justice with reproductive rights

Reproductive rights

the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy in deciding matters of reproduction, such as if/when to have children

Reproductive violence

injurious actions that attempt to control other people's reproductive capacities

Second shift

additional domestic labour that needs to be done after a day's paid work, typically performed by women


the right to choose the course of one's own life


supposed physiological and anatomical differences related to reproductive/sexual body systems, typically understood dualistically as producing males or females

Sex positive

an open and celebratory attitude towards sexual activity

Sex work

the exchange by consenting adults of sexual services for rewards such as money


differential treatment of different sexes or the belief that one sex is superior to another


a range of capacities for sexual attraction to others

Single parent family

one parent raising one or more children on their own


a negative attitude toward behaviours that are perceived to be promiscuous or overly sexual 

Social construct

ideas/beliefs created by society and its institutions, which vary in different places and cultures

Social Construction

anything viewed to have an inherent or natural conception, but is actually established and maintained by social interests

Social construction of technology (SCOT)

the study of the ways that social dynamics such as gender, race, class, and (dis)ability can become baked into technologies

Social determinants of health

the preventable social inequalities that demote health for individuals and groups

Social injustice

the consequences of social inequalities

Social stress

stress that is caused by one’s surrounding environment including social relationships with others

Social stress theory

idea that individuals who have disadvantaged social statuses have additional stressors, which then results in a higher chance of developing mental illness

Social structure

patterns of human behaviour that persist through time and provide the context of our life chances and life choices

Social system

the network of individuals, groups, and institutions that makes a tangible whole

Socialist feminism

gender oppression is rooted primarily in relationship between capitalism and patriarchy


the learning of socially-accepted behaviour and norms


generalization that all members of a group have a certain common quality

Strain theory

the argument that social conditions prevent people from meeting their needs, leading to stress that manifests in their turn to crime to meet their needs

Structural functionalism

the theory that a society is comprised of various social structures that work together to provide stasis and stability

Symbolic interactionism

the theory that social meanings emerge in microsocial negotiations

Traditional family values

normative nuclear family structures associated with strict gender roles


someone who does not identify, in various ways, as the gender associated with their sex assigned at birth per dominant gender ideology


discrimination against or hatred of trans people

Unpaid Labour

no wage or salary for work

White privilege

the power of whiteness in shaping everyday life; how whiteness confers protection in institutions and society

Women’s Liberation Movement

a term used to describe the feminist political and social movement, primarily the one that was based in the United States, which pursued equal rights for women from the 1960s to the 1970s


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Gender in Canada: A Companion Workbook Copyright © 2023 by Rebecca Yoshizawa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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