Trent University Professor Authors New Book on Canadian Women in the Labour Force after World War II


Dr. Joan Sangster’s Book Offers Insight into Participation of Women in the Canadian Work Force

Tuesday, June 15, 2010, Peterborough

Transforming Labour: Women and Work in Post-War Canada, a new book written by Dr. Joan Sangster, professor in History and Women’s Studies at Trent University, offers new insights into the participation of women in the labour force during the 25-year period following World War II.

The increased participation of women in the labour force was one of the most significant changes to Canadian social life during the quarter century after the close of the Second World War. Dr. Sangster’s new book is one of the first critical assessments of women’s paid labour during this era of Canadian history, when increasing numbers of women, especially those with families, were going into the paid work force.

“This book tackles a subject that has yet to be fully explored and covers a range of themes relating to women’s paid work during this period,” Dr. Sangster says.

Using case studies from across Canada during this period, Transforming Labour: Women and Work in Post-War Canada examines themes such as women’s service labour, their experience with unions, Aboriginal women’s changing patterns of work, and the challenges faced by immigrant women.

 In her book, Dr. Sangster challenges many preconceived notions about this era, often portrayed as a period of conformity and domesticity for women. As paid labour became more and more central to women’s lives, they increasingly involved themselves in unions and pushed the boundaries of accepted workplace norms. By the 1960s, they were raising their voices collectively, calling for social change.

Dr. Joan Sangster, who holds a B.A. Honours from Trent and an M.A. and Ph.D. from McMaster, started teaching a Trent University in 1984. She is a prolific and well-respected scholar, having published four single-authored books and edited or co-edited several more. She has been recognized for her research accomplishments with numerous awards and fellowships, including being appointed to the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Sangster has held a Killam Research Fellowship, the Pathy Visiting Professorship at Princeton, and a Fulbright Chair at Duke University. She has taught a large number of History and Women’s Studies students at Trent, and she has supervised graduate students in the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies. Dr. Sangster has served as chair of the History department, chair of the Women’s Studies program, and director of the Frost Centre. Under Dr. Sangster’s leadership, the joint Ph.D. program with Carleton University in Canadian Studies was initiated. She has also been honoured with both the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Trent University Distinguished Researcher Award. Effective July 1, 2010, Dr. Sangster will take on the role of dean of graduate studies and head of Catharine Parr Traill College.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Joan Sangster, professor, History and Women’s Studies, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7705 or