"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."
Audre Lourde.

This Glossary of Terms is a living, internal operational document developed by the Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton (WAVE) to ensure the same language and definitions are used among WAVE members and while engaging in dialogue with members of the public.

Here are several key terms and the definitions that align with WAVE’s key messaging and overarching philosophy describing how WAVE is using these terms. These terms are intended to be in a neutral unbiased tone.

The Glossary of Terms may be updated and expanded as required.

The action or process of settling among, and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.

The acceptance, respect and inclusion of individuals and groups from varying dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. (Diversity Initiatives, University of Oregon)

The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. (Oxford Dictionary)

Fairness or justice in the way individuals or groups are treated (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Human exploitation is the use of a human being for the satisfaction of personal desires and profitable advantage.

A movement that aims to define, establish and defend equal political, legal, economic, cultural and social rights for women, including equal opportunities for women in education and employment. The focus is on equality with men, not dominance over them. (adapted Cambridge University Press)

An advocate for the social, political, legal and economic rights for women, equal to those of men. (Oxford Dictionary).
There are a variety of different ideological views when it comes to feminism.

The shared social and cultural characteristics and behaviours of women and men and non-binary people. These include norms, roles, and relationships of and between groups of people. When individuals or groups find themselves outside the acceptable realm of these binary norms they often face prejudice and discrimination. (World Health Organization)
GBA+ (Gender Based Analysis +) and Gender Lens
A Gender Lens is like putting on glasses to bring things into focus. Out of one lens of the glasses, you see the participation, needs and realities of women. Out of the other lens, you see the participation, needs and realities of men. Gender lenses helps those who are unable to see sexism (and the plus includes other forms of oppression, including, but not limited to racism, ableism, classism, etc) even where it is excessive and far-reaching. They do not make you see something that is not there — they just let you see clearer. In addition to sex and gender, GBA+ considers all identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental and physical disability.
GBA+ is not advocacy. It is an analytical tool designed to help us ask questions, challenge assumptions and identify potential impacts, taking into account the diversity of Edmontonians
Free online GBA+ training can be accessed online at

Gender based violence
Gender-based violence is the discrimination of someone based on their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. Often it is inflicted by someone who believes their own gender is superior, therefore they feel it gives them a right to control and/or hurt their victim. Gender-based violence is rooted in and intensified by other forms of discrimination such as racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and poverty.
(Source: Status of Women Canada)

Gender Equality
The experience of affording women and men the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making. Also, when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured. (United Nations)

Gender Equity
Is the process of allocating resources, programs and decision-making fairly to both females and males. This requires ensuring that everyone has access to a full range of opportunities to achieve the social, psychological and physical benefits.
Equality focuses on creating the same starting line for everyone. Equity has the goal of providing everyone with the full range of opportunities and benefits – the same finish line.
(Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity)

Gender Gap
The differences between women and men, especially as reflected in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments or attitudes.
Disproportionate difference or disparity between genders.

Gender Justice
Equal treatment and equitable value of the sexes. That gender equality is a fundamental human right that is guaranteed in international and regional treaties, conventions and national legislation. It speaks most specifically to legal rights and freedoms. (adapted from United Nations)

Glass ceiling
The glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that prevents the upward mobility of women and other minorities, generally used in the context of obtaining senior and upper-level positions in the workplace.

Glass elevator
The glass elevator is a metaphor that describes how men have hidden advantages in women dominated workplaces that lead to them being fast-tracked to promotions.

Hate speech
Abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, ideological views, or sexual or gender orientation. (Oxford Dictionary).

Identity politics
Political activity that is based on identification with a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural group instead of out of concern for the interests of a larger political group. By identity, we are referring to your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and/or other ideologies.

Implicit or Unconscious bias
Your background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context can have an impact on your decisions and actions without you realising. Implicit or unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.

Inclusion or Inclusivity
Practice or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability etc.; Proactively creating a climate that people in groups, organizations and communities feel they belong and are valued because of, not in spite of, their differences.

Inclusive Language
Language that promotes all people as valued members of society by using gender neutral and inclusive vocabulary that avoids stereotyping, sexist, racist or other discriminatory terminology. Language that is free from descriptors that portray individuals or groups of people as dependent, powerless, or inferior because of their race, religion, gender, education, disability, etc.

Considers the intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination. (Annual Review of Sociology)
For example, the experience of being a poor black woman cannot be understood without taking all of those elements into consideration: her race, her gender and her socio-economic status impact her experience greatly and differentiate it dramatically from that of a wealthy white woman. In this instance, a wealthy white woman may face similar discrimination and oppression because of her gender, but her race and her socio-economic status offers her more opportunities and privileges than her poorer black cousin.
Intersectionality was first coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Acronym standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirited, Plus (includes other identities)

The everyday, ongoing, verbal and nonverbal environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

The hatred or dislike of women or girls, manifesting in sexual discrimination, denigration, violence, threats and sexual objectification. (adapted from Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women).

Unjust use of authority, law, or physical force to prevent others from being free or equal. When power is exercised in an unjust or cruel manner by individuals, government, or other groups and organizations. Oppression can manifest itself through “ism” behaviors such as sexism, racism, and classism.

A social system or government in which masculine authority is preferred over feminine authority. In patriarchal societies males hold the power over females predominantly in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Pay Gap
Typically describes the difference between what men and women earn. It is important to note the gap increases when comparing the earnings of men to marginalized or racialized women.

A special right, advantage or immunity granted, or only available to, a particular person or group. It refers to the invisible advantages rooted within our present social framework (i.e. “male privilege” or “white privilege”). (adapted from the Oxford Dictionary)

Prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex. The belief that members of one sex are less intelligent, able, skillful, etc. than the members of another sex, particularly that women are less able (etc.) compared to men. (Cambridge University)

Benevolent sexism
Benevolent sexism is disguised as being positive or “in good fun”. Stereotypes that women are more compassionate, better caretakers, more capable at administrative duties, require protection, etc. are at the root of benevolent sexism. While all of these labels may seem like compliments, they are actually rooted in men’s feelings of superiority and normalize gender inequality.

Hostile sexism
A type of sexism where women are overtly insulted, objectified, or degraded. This is the most commonly identified form of sexism.

Internalized sexism
Internalized sexism occurs at an individual level when the belief that women are inferior becomes part of an individual’s own worldview and self-concept. It occurs involuntarily due to the inundation of messaging about women’s inferiority that is present in society; this messaging can reach you through family, peers, the media, the workplace, product branding, etc.

A social pattern where people with different abilities are treated differently in a way that negative affects them. This treatment could take many forms, ranging from not accommodating for their needs to open hostility.

A social pattern where people of a certain age are treated differently in a way that negatively affects them. This treatment could take many forms, including choosing not to hire someone because they are past a certain age.

A social pattern where people are oppressed because of the social class they belong to.

The oppression of people who do not identify as heterosexual based on the belief that heterosexuality is the only acceptable sexual orientation.

The oppression of people of different races based on the belief that they are inferior.

Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women, both or other genders. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.

Social Justice
A political and philosophical concept which holds that all people should have equal access to wealth, opportunities, power, and privileges within a society.

Toxic masculinity
Adherence to male gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express, including social expectations that men seek to be dominant (the “alpha male”) and limit their emotional range primarily to expressions of anger and violence.

Cis is a latin word that means the opposite of trans. It describes persons who gender identity conforms to the gender they were assigned at birth.

Transgender (trans)
Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

Refers to negative cultural and personal beliefs, opinions, attitudes and behaviors based on prejudice, disgust, fear and/or hatred of trans people or against variations of gender identity and gender expression. Institutional transphobia manifests itself through legal sanctions, pathologization and inexistent/inadequate mechanisms to counter violence and discrimination. Social transphobia manifests itself in the forms of physical and other forms of violence, hate speech, discrimination, threats, marginalisation, social exclusion exoticisation, ridicule and insults (Source: The International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth and Student Organization)

Sexual and Gender Minority
Persons who do not subscribe to dominant heteronormative sexual orientations and/or do not conform to the gender binary (e.g., man/woman, male/female). Persons in this group may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit and gender non-conforming, to name a few.

Visible minority
Persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour (Employment Equity Act).

Racial profiling
Acting on stereotypical biases associated with assumptions of race to categorize a person or predict their behaviour. This term is most often used in circumstances involving the law, such as unjust suspicions involving a criminal offense. (Adapted from Collins English Dictionary).

Intersectional feminism
Refers to how interlocking forms of oppression (e.g., race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.) affect women’s opportunity for equality in political, legal, economic, educational and socio-cultural contexts.