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Gender and women's studies

This page explains what the subject of gender and women's studies covers, gives an overview of the material the British Library holds for this subject, and advice on how you can find and use it. It also gives details of current activities for developing the collections for this subject.

Gender and Women’s Studies Centres in the UK are very often attached to sociology and social policy university departments but despite this often have an interdisciplinary bent and demonstrate significant cross-over with other social science and humanities subject areas. Research and teaching in this area often includes Feminist Methodologies, Queer Theory, Sexualities, Cultural constructions of the Body, Identities, Post-colonial Theory, Race and Ethnicity, Work and Employment, Sociology of the Family and Cultural and Literary Studies.

Collection overview

The British Library has comprehensive collection of UK material, including report literature, working papers and conference papers. There are also strong English-language collections from other countries, especially North America, Australasia and Eastern Europe useful to those carrying out region-specific or comparative research.

We have extensive collections of government publications covering issues of gender in/equality from across the world, including statistical series, social surveys and censuses, as well as publications from a range of international and regional organisations including the and the United Nations.

Special collections

Bibliographies and guides

  • Women's studies in arts and humanities– comprehensive bibliographies in a range of areas including literature, feminist philosophy and women's history.
  • Topical bibliographies from a social science perspective are under construction. We welcome your suggestions for areas to be covered.


  • Web-archive project – websites relating to women and gender that have been archived for future research purposes.
  • Welfare reform on the web – monthly abstracts of journal and news articles pertaining to social welfare issues. March 1999 to date.

Useful external links

Social Sciences Enquiry team

For more help on using the Social Sciences collections, contact the Enquiry team at or telephone +44 (0)20 7412 7894 from 10.00 - 20.00 Mon- Thurs or 10.00 - 17.00 Friday.