Women's Lives around the World
A Global Encyclopedia
by Susan M. Shaw, General Editor, and Nancy Staton Barbour, Patti Duncan, Kryn Freehling-Burton, and Jane Nichols, Editors
January 2018, 1720pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-711-8
$436, £336, 380€, A598
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-712-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Only a handful of women are among the world’s 192 heads of government, while 63 percent of the world’s illiterate people are female.

Providing an in-depth look at the lives of women and girls in approximately 150 countries, this multivolume reference set offers readers transnational and postcolonial analysis of the many issues that are critical to the success of women and girls.

For millennia, women around the world have shouldered the responsibility of caring for their families. But in recent decades, women have emerged as a major part of the global workforce, balancing careers and family life. How did this change happen? And how are societies in developing countries responding and adapting to women’s newer roles in society? This four-volume encyclopedia examines the lives of women around the world, with coverage that includes the education of girls and teens; the key roles women play in their families, careers, religions, and cultures; how issues for women intersect with colonialism, transnationalism, feminism, and established norms of power and control.

Organized geographically, each volume presents detailed entries about the lives of women in particular countries. Additionally, each volume offers sidebars that spotlight topics related to women and girls in specific regions or focus on individual women’s lives and contributions. Primary source documents include sections of countries’ constitutions that are relevant to women and girls, United Nations resolutions and national resolutions regarding women and girls, and religious statements and proclamations about women and girls. The organization of the set enables readers to take an in-depth look at individual countries as well as to make comparisons across countries.


  • Presents a broad postcolonial feminist examination of the lives of women and girls worldwide through essays about the female experience in individual countries
  • Provides sidebars that highlight details about individual women and interesting topics that affect women and girls
  • Includes primary source documents that offer readers a direct look at important statements, laws, and policies about women and girls
Susan M. Shaw, PhD, is professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Oregon State University. She is coauthor/editor of the introductory textbooks Women's Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings and Women Worldwide: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Women.

Nancy Staton Barbour, MAIS, is an instructor in women, gender, and sexuality studies at Oregon State University.

Patti Duncan, PhD, is associate professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Oregon State University and editor of Feminist Formations. She is the author of Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech and coeditor of Mothering in East Asian Communities: Politics and Practices.

Kryn Freehling-Burton is a senior instructor in women, gender, and sexuality studies at Oregon State University. She is the coeditor of Performing Motherhood: Artistic, Activist, and Everyday Enactments.

Jane Nichols, MLIS, is associate professor and head of the Teaching and Engagement Department in the Valley Library at Oregon State University. She has been published in Journal of Library Innovation, Code4Lib, and Reference & User Services Quarterly.


2018 Award Winner in the "Women's Issues" Category—Best Book Awards, American Book Fest, November 15, 2018


"The substantial essays are discernible for high school and adult researchers. . . . The researcher can easily find a topic in the index and comparisons can be made between countries for critical analysis. Women’s Lives around the World strengthens any sociology and/or women’s studies collection in public, high school, or academic libraries."—ARBA, June 1, 2018
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