Rebecca Yoshizawa

What is this Workbook?


Watch the promotional video here!

This is not a textbook! This workbook does not replace a textbook, instructor teachings through lectures, class discussion, class assignments, or other standard undergraduate course materials. Instead, this is an activity book: a course companion, working alongside and with those course materials. This workbook is meant to build competency, capacity, and confidence with course materials, concepts, and arguments. It does this by embracing the concepts of embodied learning, iterative scaffolding, and reflexive insight. “Embodied” means doing things with your body and not just your mind; “scaffolding” means breaking things down into constituent parts that can be gathered together to build something bigger; and “reflexive” means thinking about oneself in relation to broad concepts and contexts around us.

To accomplish embodied and reflexive scaffolding, the workbook presents four types of content.

  1. Each chapter has one or two pages of written content deemed “Insights to Think About.” I gave the content this moniker because I want students to see the ideas as offerings to ponder. Although the expertise in this workbook has been solidly reviewed by experts in the field, I recognize that the topics and arguments are contentious, open to interpretation, and are themselves ideas-in-progress. Author opinions and arguments are preserved; readers may disagree with these. That’s GOOD! These disagreements should be recorded in “My Insights On” sections, described below. In addition, these Insights to Think About passages are not meant to replace a textbook. There are very few citations in this workbook, as the ideas presented are generalist in the field, and should be elaborated to an academic and detailed standard in course readings. Instead, these Insights to Think about are sort of like Coles Notes – summative guides to help students grab onto big ideas.
  2. The chapters also have “Words to Try.” Building competency in our disciplines means, in part, equipping students with powerful parlance. Words to Try encourage a usable lexicon.
  3. Chapters have thoughtfully designed “Activities.” These are the real gems of the workbook! The activities help students to get ideas down, give those ideas meaning and order, and prepare students to do more engaged work in course conversations and higher-stakes assignments. Everyone is a different kind of learner, so each unique design embraces learner diversity.
  4. Finally, each section ends with “My Insights On,” where students can record their “big picture” ideas and things they want to explore more in their course discussions and other assignments. This also includes space to write about ideas presented in course readings, lectures, and discussions that the workbook doesn’t cover. Students are encouraged to think beyond the workbook to the other sources they are being exposed to. This dispels any idea that the workbook is “authoritative.”


This workbook is designed for first or second-year sociology of gender or gender studies courses, focusing on the Canadian context. It is divided into five topics – Theory and Concepts, Institutions, Work, Family and Intimate Relationships, and Bodies and Health – which mirror the content of a course in sociology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, SOCI 2240: Gender in Canada. This course was recently redesigned for our curriculum. I had so much fun and satisfaction working on the redesign that I decided to keep the innovation going by creating this workbook companion.

The workbook idea was created out of an experience I had long ago in my own undergraduate journey in what was then called Women’s Studies (now Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies) at Simon Fraser University. I was in – I think? – a second-year course with Dr. Helen Hok-ze Leung, who assigned Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook [1](now out as a second edition, My New Gender Workbook[2]). This activity-based, accessible learning companion made quite an impression on me because about 20 years later, here I am writing/editing this workbook in the style of Bornstein’s. When I first started, the working title was “My ‘Gender in Canada’ Workbook.” Such an awkward title shows how working through, reworking, and taking a step-wise approach to learning and creating is so useful.

Open Educational Resource

This workbook is supported by an Open Educational Resources Creation Grant from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I espouse several principles of Open Education in this book. Primarily, I am operationalizing the idea that knowledge is a public good that should be held in the commons. Although this book contains original work done by myself and my collaborators, we recognize that no work can truly come from a single individual alone. All of the chapters reflect discussion, feedback, revision, and support. The content represents a broad base of sociological and social scientific knowledge. We have collected and presented it here to be enjoyed by anyone.

This book is licensed under: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)[3] This means you can use, reuse, and adapt this workbook:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose, even commercially.
  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.


very big exciting thing about this workbook is that more than half of it is written by students. Part of the mandate of the Open Education movement is to diminish the amount of work that students put towards disposable assignments.[4] In the summer of 2021, I taught SOCI 2240 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and used that as the opportunity to write my workbook chapters for just-in-time delivery to students. I decided to have students engage with my chapters, and then use that as a model to write their own chapters on the topics of their choosing. The assignment was scaffolded, where students would write a chapter draft, receive feedback from me and one or more other students, revise the work, and submit it as their final assignment. The chapters of the utmost quality appear in this workbook! And as you can see, there are a lot of chapters that are written by students! I have edited them, sometimes a lot and sometimes a little, but always with author consent, to produce the coherent book we now offer the commons. Additional collaborators are area experts.

Celina Castillo – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Janelle Cruz – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Danielle Deveau – Lecturer at the University of Waterloo in English Language and Culture

Harleen Dhillon – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Reema Faris – PhD Candidate at Simon Fraser University in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

Julie Frizzo-Barker – PhD in Communication, scholar of Gender and Technology

Anisha Johal – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Sukhmandeep Kaur – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Joanna Le – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Attika Mirbaz – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Pooja Mohabeer – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Bernice Ofori-Amanfo – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Anmol Sangha – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Rebecca Terry – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Julia Townsend – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Harleen Uppal – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student

Rebecca Yoshizawa – Kwantlen Polytechnic University Instructor in the Department of Sociology

Rachel Zheng – Kwantlen Polytechnic University undergraduate student


Many individuals are responsible for getting this workbook off the ground. Rajiv Jhangiani was a tireless advocate and supporter of OER at KPU and is always a thoughtful and warm colleague. Urooj Nazemi took the time to meet with me to inspire my efforts to turn a little idea into a big workbook. Amanda Grey provided invaluable help in tethering “my (hardcopy) vision” to its digital life and to the OER movement; she was also instrumental in getting the book to the finish line. Manmeet Sital formatted all of the activities to bring them consistently into their digital life. Paula Pinter worked on some formatting finishing touches.

Danielle Deveau and Reema Faris provided critical peer reviews of drafts of this workbook. They saw gaps in the draft and volunteered to fill those gaps with fabulous chapters. Naaz Sidhu provided an invaluable student review of the workbook which helped refine it for the intended audience.

We, the many authors, thank Kwantlen Polytechnic University and its Open Education Working Group for providing an OER Creation Grant[5] for this work.

We are excited to offer this workbook to the world and welcome you to use it, adapt it, and let us know what you think of it.

Rebecca Yoshizawa, 2023


“This is a wonderful new resource, designed to support both educators and students of sociology of gender or gender studies courses in the Canadian context. Grouped into five sections, each of the 33 chapters includes an accessible and engaging introduction while highlighting key terms and including a printable sheet that supports a well-designed learning activity. The care and humility of the book’s editor Dr. Rebecca Yoshizawa (a highly engaging educator beloved by her students) is easily identified, from her invitation to students to use the book to support the messy yet playful process of deeper learning to her guidance for educators on how to potentially integrate the resource into their instructional practice. But perhaps my favourite attribute is that nearly half of the chapters have been authored by students, in a wonderful exhibition of open pedagogy. In short, this workbook is a project that exemplifies the kind of learning experience we should all aspire to provide —student-centred, interactive, critical, and open.” – Rajiv Jhangiani, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, Brock University 

“The workbook produced by Dr. Rebecca Yoshizawa, co-authored by colleagues and students, is a vital tool in helping students navigate through coursework on ‘Gender in Canada.’ This workbook is a perfect guide full of important information that students can use throughout a course, through the application of ‘hands-on,’ critical thinking work. Many of the exercises in the workbook allow depiction of real life and help us apply terms, theories and ideas to our everyday lives. The activities are engaging and easy to follow along, making them manageable alongside coursework. The workbook also breaks down large concepts in more digestible smaller blurbs which allow us to implement these theories much quicker. The workbook is set up in a way which allows users to have a brief introduction through literature and summarization of ideas followed by application of those ideas through exercises that use vocabularies relevant to the given subject matter. Additionally, it’s followed by an activity that allows us to apply terminology and theoretical works. Furthermore, the workbook has an impact on the application of what we learn in class through the exercises as it allows us to apply our sociological imagination to our everyday lives. For example one of the activities in the ‘Dualism, Work and Gender Roles’ section focuses on caretaker/home-related work. The activity aims to conceptualize ‘how much the labour is really worth.’ These activities allow us to connect the real world to our classroom but also, vice versa, our classroom to the real world.” – Naaz Sidhu, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Sociology Student

“This is an engaging and thought-provoking work. It is one that will help educators explore the complexities of gender and its ramifications while helping students apply, practice, and reflect on the content that the authors have shared. With a range of activities to extend student learning, this workbook offers its readers the chance to deepen their understanding of the world around them and the way that theoretical concepts have real-world implications for us all.” – Reema Faris, Ph.D. Candidate, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University

“This workbook innovates a number of novel pedagogies to enhance student learning and diversify learning strategies. At the same time, it addresses several issues university instructors face today, such as helping students avoid plagiarism and produce original work, as well as integrating digital culture in the classroom. Because the workbook is open for adaptation, it will be great to see how instructors continue innovating it. It’s wonderful to see student authors make their mark with their contributions to this workbook. It is a model for rethinking how students engage and learn in the postsecondary classroom.” – Danielle Deveau, Lecturer, English Language and Culture, University of Waterloo

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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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