Women’s Lives around the World: A Global Encyclope-
dia provides an overview of the important issues facing
women in 150 different countries or territories. Each essay
follows the same outline, allowing easy comparison across
nations. The encyclopedia examines education, employ-
ment, children and teens, health, family, sexuality, poli-
tics, religion, and issues specific to each country, such as
land rights, trafficking, climate change, and social media.
Significantly, this encyclopedia also pays attention to the
intersections of social difference in women’s lives, noting
how women’s experiences of gender are shaped by race,
ethnicity, language, sexual identity, social class, religion,
and ability.
The encyclopedia also uses a decidedly feminist lens to
examine all of these issues. Drawing from transnational,
multicultural, postcolonial, and queer feminisms, these
volumes seek to understand women’s lives from perspec-
tives of privilege, power, and systems of oppression.
The volumes are arranged regionally: Africa and the
Middle East, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. As femi-
nists, the editors grappled with definitions of nation and
region and often made judgment calls based on feminist
perspectives. For example, we have included Tibet and Pal-
estine as separate entries in solidarity with their freedom
To supplement the essays on each nation, we include
sidebars that explore individual ideas, movements, or
events; “Women’s Voices” sidebars that provide a glimpse
into the life of an individual woman or a group of women;
and primary source documents that range from UN state-
ments on women to excerpts from various national consti-
tutions about women’s rights. We also offer helpful charts
and graphs and bibliographic entries for those who would
like to explore issues in greater depth.
Such a project always requires incredible collaboration,
and many authors contributed to the depth and breadth of
this volume, drawing from their expertise and own com-
mitments to social justice and women around the world.
In a show of solidarity, these authors agreed to forego a sti-
pend for their work, and the contributors’ budget was do-
nated to the National Women’s Studies Association to fund
a book award for feminist disability studies in honor of Dr.
Alison Piepmeier, a feminist disability studies scholar and
professor of women and gender studies at the College of
Charleston, who died in 2016.
The bulk of the work for this encyclopedia came from
the four dedicated volume editors who recruited writers,
provided feedback, edited essays, and ensured a quality
project to benefit students seeking to learn more about
women. I cannot thank these editors enough—Nancy
Barbour, Patti Duncan, Kryn Freehling-Burton, and Jane
Nichols, my colleagues at Oregon State University. I also
thank the staff at ABC-CLIO who invited us to undertake
this project, provided us with guidance and support, and
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