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When developing transnational perspectives in gender studies we have – arguably even more than in other gender studies contexts – to question our terminology. This might include to look for political angles, e.g. in which contexts is a term used? Is there a political agenda or meaning connected to it? Is it coined by a social movement or is it a term a specific government is using? What is the epistemic dimension of a specific term? For which theoretical context does a term or a terminology speak? 


“Labels are limiting but they do form parts of our identity. But it’s such a mind* because words mean so many different things to so many different people” – says Unity Bond to Prolly Plebs and Blaq Beauty in the webseries ‘The Foxy Five’, bringing lessons from intersectional feminism in post-Apartheid South Africa. For more negotiations and inspirations, visit Gender Medithek or via Youtube


For more strictly academic enquiries, you find an annotated list of glossaries that might answer questions as those above and might facilitate discernment of discourses.


Also, transnational perspectives in gender studies means working and communicating in bi- or multilingual settings and we have to ask if there are shifts in meanings that a term/terminology undergoes between languages. For reflections on this, please see the text on Translanguaging by Libby Meintjes.

In terms of glossaries there are books in print/paid access, e.g. the Oxford Dictionary of Gender Studies, but there are also a number available open-access online. These include (along with our annotations): 


This US-American glossary from 2003 is also doing away with the gender binary, but its explanations are very brief and do not come with references. 

The two Canadian glossaries are from ca. 2017 and both address gender from non-binary perspectives. Most terms are explained in a few lines, others with several paragraphs. No references are given. 

This glossary covers terminologies in research with the aim of providing definitions that can integrate sex and gender considerations into policies, programmes, and projects. It also offers references and links to further information about the terminologies.

The glossary is first published in 2014 and subsequently updated in 2016 by the Swedish Gender Equality Agency. It is brief and focused on the most frequently used terminologies in Gender Studies, consisting of only 30 terms.

This 32-page glossary, updated 2009, is compiled by the NGO based at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and comes with references and links. It is non-binary and rather encompassing, e.g. it includes explanations on major legal tools. 

This glossary compiled by the UNICEF is non-binary and adds a dimension about children and parenting. It focuses on the application of the terminologies in development studies and in relation to the SGDs. It also identifies and defines UN monitoring tools and structures for gender equality and various legal frameworks.


This glossary compiled by the University of Freiburg offers terminologies that are in the context of diversity and sensitive university teaching which include various terms in Gender Studies, in German language. It also comes with references and links.

This German glossary is a transdisciplinary online reference work that contains scientific articles on terms, topics, people and institutions in the field of gender studies. It also comes with keywords and links related to each of the terms.

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