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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 | Bibliographies | 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. HPNL Ref indicates the item is held in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library Reference 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.

LGBT Life (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.


305.403 B322
Battleground: Women, Gender, and Sexuality. 2 vols. 2008.
This encyclopedia is designed to give the reader an accessible reference to the most controversial issues and debates pertaining to women’s lives, gender, and sexuality. Its 97 entries reflect the large and diverse field of women’s studies. Each entry gives a concise background and history of the issue as well as a list of further readings. It also includes a bibliography and an index.

305.23081 B691
Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia. 2 vols. 2010.
Explores the ever-changing aspects of boys’ identities and notions of masculinity. Entries are arranged by topic, including identity, health, and a variety of media, music, and technology representations. Each of the 167 entries is signed and contains a list of references. Volume 2 contains a selected bibliography and an index.

306.403 C8991
Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body. 2 vols. 2008.  
This encyclopedia provides cultural histories of various internal and external human body parts. Some entries have a focus on United States culture while others have an international focus. Entries are arranged alphabetically by body part and each contains a section on further reading and a bibliography. Selected entries have illustrations. Volume 1 contains entries A through L as well as a chronology of significant events in the cultural history of the human body. Volume 2 contains entries M through Z and a comprehensive index for both volumes.

305.4203 En195
Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories. 2000.
This encyclopedia is an accessible, multidisciplinary insight into feminist thought. It contains over 500 authoritative entries on key themes and ideas relating to feminism, starting with second-wave feminism in the 1960s. Each entry contains cross-references and a bibliographic guide to further reading.

Q.305.309 En192
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.
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.  3rd ed. 2 vols. 2013. (online)
This online resource chronicles the American women’s quest for political power and social equality. It covers the individuals, organizations, movements, and other legislative and legal milestones that have altered political history. The work includes biographies of women who have served in the Senate and House of Representatives, the judiciary, and the U.S. Cabinet. Volume two contains a special documents section of texts and speeches, statistics, and a chronology of women’s political progress over the past 150 years. Also includes biographical references and a comprehensive index.

305.235203 G443
Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. 2 vols. 2008.
Contains more than 250 entries which address topics concerning girl culture ranging from the 1920s to the present. Most entries contain a list of further readings as well as cross-references. The encyclopedia is divided into three parts. The first part is an introductory chapter which gives an overview of girl culture. The second part is titled “Studying Girl Culture: A Reader’s Guide” and contains a series of critical essays on different aspects of girl culture. The third and final part consists of alphabetical entries on girl culture topics. Includes an index. 

363.96097303 H629
Historical and Multicultural Encyclopedia of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States. 2002. (HPNL Ref and 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.

Q. 305.403 R765
Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women’s Issues and Knowledge. 4 vols. 2000.
This encyclopedia focuses on ideas and actions in relation to women and does not contain biographical entries. It consists of 13 thematic categories: 1. Arts and Literature 2. Culture and Communication 3. Ecology and the Environment 4. Economy and Development 5. Education 6. Health, Reproduction, and Sexuality 7. History and Philosophy of Feminism 8. Households and Families 9. Politics and the State 10. Religion and Spirituality 11. Science and Technology 12. Violence and Peace 13. Women’s Studies. Articles are arranged in an alphabetical order across themes.

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.

305.4203 W842
The Women’s Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third-Wave Feminism. 2 vols. 2006.
Provides information about the third wave of the women’s movement. Volume one consists of 200 A-Z entries focusing on U.S pop culture. Thirty-seven of the 200 entries are biographical and cover a diverse range of individuals. Volume two contains primary documents, mostly “nonfiction pieces from crucial books and magazines.”

371.826603 Y888
Youth, Education, and Sexualities: An International Encyclopedia.
 2 vols. 2005.
This guide contains current research, policy, and practice regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth throughout the world with a focus on the United States. It includes 250 entries with references. Entries cover issues such as suicide, counseling, gay-straight alliances, popular culture, racism, prostitution, HIV education, pregnancy, fraternities, and gender roles.


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.

305.42 G28551
Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook. 2 vols. 2010.
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 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 leadershipo roles.  Includes a comprehensive bibliography, contributor biographies, and index. All entries are fully text-searchable.

Q.306.7072 H191 2011
Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures. 3rd ed. 2011. (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.



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.




Bibliographies are lists of citations of books, websites, journals, articles, and other resources about a specific subject. Bibliographies can appear at the end of a book, journal, or encyclopedia article, or as a separate publication.

JC599.U5 H273 2012
American Women Civil Rights Activists: Biobibliographies of 68 Leaders, 1825-1992. 2012.
Contains entries for 68 women civil rights activists active from 1825-1992 who worked for numerous underrepresented populations, including African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, children, lesbians and gays, adoptees, older adults, differently-abled persons, and prisoners. Each entry provides a biographical sketch with information about the woman’s birthplace; education; important events and achievements; children, parents, siblings, and others who have had an impact on the activist’s life and work; and an extensive bibliography of works by and about the activist.

016.8108 B652g
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature: A Genre Guide. 2008
This volume provides a general reading guide to adult LGBT fiction. Works are arranged in chapters according to subgenre and each entry includes a bibliographic citation, annotation, symbol noting whether it is of interest to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered readers, award received, subject headings, and read-alikes. A chapter on the history of LGBT literature and a chapter on collection development and readers’ advisory in the genre are included. Also contains a bibliography, author/title index, and subject index.

016.3014242 St5w 2004
Women’s Studies: A Recommended Bibliography. 3rd ed. 2004.

This fully annotated source maps the literature of women’s studies, covering thousands of titles and websites in 19 subject areas published between 1985 and 1999. This source is intended as a reference and collection development tool.   



Biographical Sources

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

305.4209224 B52
A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe: 19th and 20th Centuries.  2006.
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.

Q.305.48896073 B561 2005
Black Women in America.
 2nd ed. 3 vols. 2005.
Chronicles the history of African-American women from 1619 to 2004. Includes approximately 150 topical and over 335 biographical entries.

305.40956 T143h
Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa. 2013. (HPNL Ref)
This book features the biographies of female and male historical figures, feminists, writers, and others who have furthered women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa. There are over 400 entries covering feminism, culture, and religion.

920.7208997 N213 2001
Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. 2nd ed. 2001.

Provides over 250 biographical entries on Native American women born between 1499 and 1965. Focuses on Cherokee and Sioux women. “Features familiar historical figures and lesser-known contemporary women.”

Q. 920.7208996 N843 (HPNL Ref)
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.