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Guide to Sources in Gender and Women’s Studies

Guide to Sources in Gender and Women studies

Location of Materials | Call NumbersArticle & Journal Databases | Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & Handbooks | Atlases & Maps Biographical Sources



Location of Materials 

All titles listed in this selective guide are located in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) Reference Collection unless otherwise noted. The location SSHEL RCC indicates the item is held in the SSHEL Reference Circulating Collection. 



Call Numbers

Call numbers are groups of numbers and/or letters that classify library items by subject. Items are arranged on bookshelves by call number. The Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) uses both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems.

GWS Call Numbers



Articles & Journal Databases

Databases are structured sets of information, stored in print or online. Often, databases are online collections of journal article citations and full-text. Find articles about a specific topic by using keywords, subject headings, authors, and more.

GenderWatch (online). 1970-.
This database provides full text articles from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, and governmental and special reports. The publications indexed focus on how gender impacts a broad spectrum of subject areas. Contains archival material that dates back to 1970.

LGBTQ+ Source (online).
Abstracts and indexes a large variety of journals, newspapers, and monographs as well as provides full text for several of the most important and historically significant GLBT sources. Many of the sources indexed contain information relevant to women’s studies.

Women’s Studies International (online). 1972-.
Indexes nearly 800 different sources on women’s studies and feminism from 1972 to the present. Journals, newspapers, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, proceedings, reports, theses, dissertations, NGO studies, important websites and web documents, and grey literature are all included.  



Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Background information can be found in reference sources, online or in print, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. Dictionaries contain brief definitions, usually only a sentence or two in length. Encyclopedias provide a more in-depth description, usually a few paragraphs in length. Handbooks contain descriptions that can be multiple pages and describe the development and future of a subject.


Historical Dictionary of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movements. 2013. (online)
This book documents the liberation movement, which started in 1969, and continues on to the present day. It is a research tool for those interested in the issues and conflicts that play a role in the movements. It also discusses significant people, organizations, and events that helped further the movement. Lists of acronyms, abbreviations, as well as a chronology of events are also included.


Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. 2 vols. 2009. (online)
Contains articles on significant gender scholarship within commonly recognized areas of social research from the individual to the global level. Entries are arranged alphabetically by subject and each entry contains a hyperlinked cross-referenced list of related subjects along with references. A reader’s guide and subject index are included.  All entries are full-text searchable.

Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America. 3 vols. 2004. (online)
“Brings together and focuses on different kinds of knowledge about sexualities and genders” and “covers more than 400 years of historical development” in the United States. The alphabetically organized entries are biographical and topical in nature, and include bibliographic references and cross-references.  Provides a chronology of major developments from 1566-2003, and a directory of LGBT libraries and archives in the U.S. and Canada.

Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work. 2 vols. 2006. (online)
This encyclopedia includes 341 entries on social, cultural, geographic, and medical topics related to prostitution. Entry topics range over time from antiquity to the present and address all regions of the world, with emphasis on the West and the past 250 years. Most entries include cross-references and suggested further readings.  Appendices provide primary sources on topics, poems and song lyrics, documents by sex workers, and legal documents and commentary. Alphabetical and topical lists of entries, as well as a selected bibliography and index, are included.  Entries are full-text searchable.

Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. 4 vols. 2007. (online)
This resource addresses issues such as sex and gender at the personal and social level; issues of identity, status, class, ethnicity, race, and nation; sexuality, the body and social institutions; and the structures of representation.

305.4869703 En19
Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. 6 vols. 2003-2007.
(Main Stacks and online)
This encyclopedia is an interdisciplinary resource that brings together the work of over 1,000 scholars writing on women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, in areas of the world where there have been significant Muslim populations. Each volume is organized by theme and region. Each volume has its own index, and volume 6 is a cumulative index for the entire set. Topics covered include research methodologies, family and law, sexuality, economics, education, and representations of women in Islamic cultures. A bibliography of writings on women and Islamic cultures is included in volume 1. 

From Suffrage to the Senate: An Encyclopedia of American Women in Politics.  4th. ed. 2 vols. 2019. (online)
From Suffrage to the Senate: America’s Political Women is a comprehensive and valuable compendium of biographies of leading women in U.S. politics, past and present, and an examination of the wide range of women’s movements.

Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States. 2002. (online)
Provides an interdisciplinary introduction to a variety of topics related to American women’s reproductive rights. Not only does it discuss reproductive rights in relation to race, class, sexuality, and disability, it also tries to reflect the diversity of opinions surrounding issues of reproductive rights. Individual topics are explored in a variety of contexts and controversial terminology is used interchangeably when appropriate. Each entry is signed and contains resources for further reading. Entries are arranged alphabetically and indexed by topic. Also contains an index of court cases regarding reproductive rights.

Sexual Violence and Abuse: An Encyclopedia of Prevention, Impacts, And Recovery. 2 vols. 2013.  (online)
The preface of this two volume set states that “most entries have focused on heterosexual sexual violence since most of the available research still focuses on such. We also know, however, that males can be victims and that females can be perpetrators and that violence can occur between the same gender. Hence, several entries cover these topics” (xx). Entries cover such topics as drug abuse, ethics, intersections with other forms of abuse, legal responses, and theory. Each entry is signed, provides references to other entries, and lists further readings.


HQ1180. G4655 2013
Gender: The Key Concepts. 2013.
This volume provides an introduction to the major theories and concepts in gender studies. Each of the 37 entries provides a critical definition of the subject, written by an expert in the field, and examines its genesis, usage, and major contributors. Taking an interdisciplinary and global view of gender studies, concepts include: agency, body, class, diaspora, feminist politics, gender identity, heteronormativity, performativity, reflexivity, and subjectivity. With cross referencing and further reading provided throughout the text, this volume explores the relationships between different aspects of the field of gender studies. Includes a bibliography and index.

Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook. 2 vols. 2010. (online)
This two-volume handbook contains 101 articles exploring the role of women within the interdisciplinary context of leadership studies. Entries are arranged thematically: first more generally in articles exploring feminist theory, history, social movements, and global studies, then in sections dedicated to exploring female leadership in various professional fields, such as business, religion, academia, sports, and the media. Sections also begin with an overview of leadership in each area. Articles are signed and contain lists of references and suggestions for further reading. Includes an index. All articles are full-text searchable.

Handbook of Research on Microfinancial Impacts of Women Empowerment, Poverty, and Inequality. 2019. (online)
Utilizing various cases studies and research from across the globe, this book analyzes if microfinancial lending institutions empower women borrowers or not. Each chapter evaluates the unique circumstances and intersections of identity that female borrowers occupy and how the inequities they face contribute to their economic, social, and political power in their home and global communities.

Handbook of Research on Race, Gender, and the Fight for Equality. 2016. (online)
This resource provides a critical look at race, gender, and modern day discrimination, addressing equal opportunity and diversity requirements from a myriad of perspectives while focusing on workplace and educational dynamics.  Intended as a reference source for professionals and researchers working in equality as well as for managers and those in leadership roles.  Includes a comprehensive bibliography, contributor biographies, and index. All entries are fully text-searchable.

Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures. 4th ed. 2020. (online)
Contains descriptions, sample questions, and acquisition information for over 200 tests, questionnaires, and scales that measure sexuality and related beliefs, behaviors, and topics, including 100 new and updated entries for the 3rd edition. Each entry is written by the test’s author(s) and contains a list of references, as well as contact information for the author(s). Entries are arranged by topic and cover areas such as birth control, identity, and abuse. Includes a list of the scales included, arranged by lead author’s last name, and an index.

Handbook of the Sociology of Gender. 2006. (online)
This e-book is divided into four sections.  The first section, called Basic Issues, examines gender theory, feminist epistemology, and gender differences and similarities.  The second section, called Macro-structures and Processes, consists of seven chapters with topics such as comparative gender stratification, gender and migration, poverty, gender movements, gender organizations, and gender in cultures.  Section three, called Micro-structures and Processes, addresses topics such as gender socialization, gender and social roles, gender and interaction, and gender violence and harassment.  The final section consists of thirteen chapters that look at the relationship between gender and social institutions. Includes an index.  

International Handbook on the Demography of Sexuality. 2013. (online)
This volume attempts to bridge the information gap in sexuality for the field of demography (the statistical study of human populations). This e-book is broken into five parts: introduction to and overview of demography of sexuality, sexual practices in the global picture, sexual practices across the life course, sexual identities, and applying demographics of sexuality to policy.  Includes an index.

HQ 76.3 .U5 D47 2017
LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer People by the Numbers. 2017.
Chapters offer statistics and information about members of the LGBTQ community in the private and public sector.  A glossary of terms and comprehensive index are included.

Palgrave Handbook of Sexuality Education. 2016. (online)
With 32 essays from sexuality studies experts in 12 countries, this resource presents an authoritative and international overview of issues within sexuality education as well as discussion of emerging and unconventional insights in the field.  Contributions are divided into four sections, including global perspectives; sexuality education in schools; sexual cultures, entertainment media, and communication technologies; and future possibilities in sexuality education research.  Intended for academics, students, and researchers of sexuality education.  Index is included and all entries are full-text searchable.

Routledge International Handbook of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2020. (online)
This volume, with a feminist interdisciplinary approach, explores the lives and perspectives of women and how their intersectional experiences and society affect their sexual and reproductive health. Each chapter focuses on a different life-stage of women’s health, recurrent medical conditions, and the barriers to health care that certain identities and groups encounter.


Atlases & Maps 

Atlases are collections of maps.

305.4091724 At655
Atlas of Gender and Development: How Social Norms Affect Equality in Non- OECD Countries. 2010.
While it is well-established that gender equality reduces poverty, most sources only measure the outcome of these disparities, not their causes. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses the Social Institutions and Development Index (SIGI) to evaluate non-OECD countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Each entry discusses the five areas measured by SIGI: family code, physical integrity, son preference, civil liberties, and ownership rights. Each entry also contains a brief summary of gender, society, and the law as well as a map, general statistics, and multiple charts conveying aspects of the SIGI rating. Includes a brief glossary of international legal terms and a bibliography organized by region.


Biographical Sources

Biographical sources provide information about a single person or multiple people.

A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe: 19th and 20th Centuries.  2006. (online)
This book describes the lives, works and aspirations of more than 150 women and men who were active in women’s movements in 22 countries in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Entries provide biographical information, a photograph of each person, and a list of sources for further reading.

Notable Black American Women. 3 vols. 1992-2003.
This work defines the lives of black women from colonial times to the present. Listing 300 women born between 1686 and 1970, this volume includes pioneers, entrepreneurs, leading businesswomen, literary and creative figures, leaders of social or human justice movements, major government officials, creative figures in performing arts, noted orators and public speakers, and educators.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. 4 vols. 2008.  (online)
This work provides over 650 biographies of influential women and over 600 topical articles covering topics such as geography and history, culture and society, organizations, movements, and gender studies. The encyclopedia presents the experiences and contributions of women not only in the Western world, but across the globe, and hopes to tell the story of how women worldwide have influenced and been influenced by these historical, social, and demographic changes. A bibliography is included with each article. Subject index is provided.