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Deborah Stienstra - uoguelph. Guelph, MB, CA

Deborah Stienstra

Professor | uoguelph

Guelph, MB, CANADA

author, researcher, advocate, speaker on inclusion, accessibility, gender-based analysis, disability policy, and global development



Deborah Stienstra Publication Deborah Stienstra Publication



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Building Links Among Women (Described Video) Including: Good Palliative Care for All




For more than twenty years, I've been researching, teaching and building relationships to make change in this world. I work for transformative inclusion so that diverse women and men with disabilities, Indigenous people, and girls and boys from around the world can participate in their communities and societies. I work to create spaces for stories and insights to be shared.

I engage with students, researchers, policy makers, and the public to share what I learn. As a result my research can be found in academic publications, on websites,Twitter and Facebook as well as in FactSheets and Policy Impact Papers. My research partners are those who have seen the need to tell the stories and advocate for change.

My research covers a range of sectors including resource development, global development, information technologies, end of life care, health care, trade relations and others.

Industry Expertise (4)




Public Policy

Areas of Expertise (10)

Disability Rights

Disability Access and Advocate

Gender analysis


International Development

Disability Policy

Inclusion and Diversity

Global Development

Resource Development

Environmental Assesment

Accomplishments (1)

United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Women and Girls with Disabilities (professional)


The purpose of the United Nations Meeting in Santiago, Chile, is to identify strategies and develop recommendations to amplify the voices of women with disabilities and address persistent barriers to their empowerment, including by building synergies between gender equality and disability inclusion, addressing the intersectionality of gender and disability and mainstreaming gender equality and disability in the operationalization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Education (3)

York University: Ph.D., Political Science 1992

York University: M.A., Political Science 1986

University of Alberta: B.A. Honours, Political Science 1982

Languages (2)

  • English
  • French

Media Appearances (3)

Disabled northern and Indigenous women need to be part of the policy process

Policy Options  online


Quite a lot has changed for women since the Charter of Rights and Freedom was approved in 1985, and those of us working for equality and gender-based analysis have seen many improvements. And yet, we also know once we examine the impacts of policies on diverse women like Indigenous and disabled women some things have not changed. Susan Manning, Gail Baikie and Deborah Stienstra share their research findings on women with disabilities in Northern Canada.

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Finding Canada’s Way Again on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Centre for International Policy Studies  online


It has been ten years since the government of Canada signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ottawa's first report on our progress in furthering those rights in Canada’s domestic and international policies shows a mixed record to date, but also many opportunities for the new federal government to makes its mark in this important domain. What can the government of Canada do to rebuild its role as a promoter of global disability rights, particularly through its diplomacy and international development cooperation? Deborah Stienstra and Steve Estey share their evidence-based ideas for action.

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Federal government has responsibility to critically evaluate Muskrat Falls, other resource development projects

The Hill Times  online


Deborah Stienstra, Gail Baikie, Jane Stinson and Leah Levac examine why it is necessary to have a gendered, intersectional analysis for evaluating resource development projects as a part of the environmental assessment process.

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Research Grants (5)

FemNorthNet: Learning from women’s experiences of community transformations as a result of economic restructuring

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada $1,000,000


New economic development in northern Canada is changing communities socially, economically, and culturally. The Feminist Northern Network (called FemNorthNet) wants to know the downside of ‘up’ that cannot be ignored. Our research asks: HOW do these economic developments affect women in Northern communities? WHAT can women do to bring positive change to their Northern communities?

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Gendered and Intersectional Implications of Energy and Resource Extraction in Canada’s Northern Resource-based Communities

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada $24,990


As the quest for valuable natural resources in Canada’s northern and Arctic communities continues, we ask, “What tools and policies are in place to assess the gendered and diverse impacts resource projects have on the people who live in these communities”? We investigate how governments, private companies, and communities can work together to advance the benefits and address the consequences of resource extraction in northern communities.

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Understanding the impacts of northern urbanization and the development agenda on women: Feminist intersectionality and the participatory development of community vitality indices

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada $475,110


In September 2012, a small group of women in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, along with an even smaller group of academic researchers, began a journey to create a community vitality index (CVI); a tool to track changes to the wellbeing of women in the community. Women’s wellbeing is critical to gender equality and increasingly important as the new Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Dam has “the potential for adverse effects resulting from high wage employment, including increased substance abuse, and sexual assault, family violence and [other] effects on women and children in Happy Valley-Goose Bay…” (Report of the Joint Review Panel, 2011).

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Building Links between Women: Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada $49,970


The Building Links among Women Project creates opportunities to think, learn, and talk about how hydroelectric development affects the lives of diverse women. Our conversations and activities started with the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link Hydro-electric Project – both the impact it is already having as well as the future dangers it may pose for women in Labrador, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.

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“(Re) Building Inclusive Societies: Critical reflections on disability and global development

International Development Research Centre $68,000


Re)building Inclusive Societies: Critical Reflections on Disability and Global Development is a partnership of researchers, disabled peoples' organizations and policy makers. The partnership will create and share knowledge about the situations of women and men, boys and girls with disabilities in global development, particularly in post-disaster and post-conflict situations.

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Partnerships (1)

Diversity through Inclusive Practice

DisAbled Women's Network of Canada Feminist Northern Network


In partnership with DAWN-RAFH Canada (The DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada), the Feminist Northern Network has produced a toolkit to assist individuals and organizations with planning and carrying out inclusive processes and events. Based on shared knowledge, the Toolkit provides practical suggestions for creating spaces that are inclusive of all people, regardless of age, ability, ethno-cultural background, indigenous heritage, sexual orientation, or place of origin.

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Articles (3)

Northern Crises: Women's Relationships and Resistances to Resource Extractions

International Feminist Journal of Politics


Using feminist disability studies and intersectionality, this article draws upon the ongoing resource extractions in Labrador, Canada to argue for examining local communities and relationships as one way to understand gender and global social, economic and environmental crises. The article explores how crises in Labrador have been constituted and maintained around global agendas of economic and resource development, historical and current colonial practices and a limited and constrained international relations with local Indigenous nations.

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Trumping All? Disability and Girlhood Studies

Girlhood Studies


Recent global attention has been directed to the situations of girls and boys with disabilities, yet research tells us little about the experiences and perspectives of girls with disabilities except that their lives are filled with barriers, violence and stigma. I explore how girlhood studies can authentically include girls with disabilities. Drawing on feminist disability studies, I argue that we can use intersectional theory to identify and include the experiences of girls with disabilities, and explore diverse embodiments of girlhood. In doing this we can remove the trump card of disability and see disabled girls as an integral part of girlhood and girlhood studies.

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For Michael Charlie: Including girls and boys with disabilities in the global South/North

Disability and the Global South


Recognizing that there are pockets of the global South in the global North, I illustrate in this paper how Indigenous and northern children with disabilities and their relationships with their care providers have been rendered invisible and excluded by jurisdictional disputes between levels of government, an ongoing drive to institutionalize children with disabilities and longstanding colonial and capitalist values and systems. The paper highlights how Jordan’s Principle, an Indigenous child-first response offers a small first step in ensuring children with disabilities in Indigenous and northern communities in Canada, access to necessary services in their communities.

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