Feminist Anthropology

By Johnna Dominguez, Marsha Franks and James H Boschma, III

Basic Premises

The subfield of Feminist Anthropology emerged as a reaction to a perceived androcentric bias within the discipline (Lamphere 1996:488). Two related points should be made concerning this reaction. First of all, some of the prominent figures in early American anthropology (e.g. Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict) were women, and the discipline has traditionally been more gender egalitarian  than other social sciences (diLeonardo 1991: 5-6). This observation nothwithstanding, however, is the fact that the discipline has been subject to prevailing modes of thought through time and has certainly exhibited the kind ofandrocentric thinking that early feminist anthropologists accusedit of (Reiter 1975: 13-14).

There are three waves of feminist anthropology, just as there are multiple movements of feminism in general. However, these currents of thought are not strictly chronological, with one ending as the other began. In fact, theories from second wave feminist anthropology are still relevant today despite theories representing  third movement in feminist anthropology. Yet it is still useful to present the three waves in terms of their foci (Gellner and Stockett, 2006). The first wave, from 1850 to 1920,sought primarily to include women’s voices in ethnography. What little ethnographic data concerning women that existed was often, in reality, the reports of male informants transmitted through male ethnographers (Pine 1996: 253). The second wave, from 1920 to 1980, moved into academic spheres and separated the notion of sex from that of gender, both of which previously had been used interchangeably. Gender was used to refer to both the male and the female, the cultural construction of these categories, and the relationship between them (Pine 1996:253).The definition of gender may vary from culture to culture, and this realization has led feminist anthropologists away from broad generalizations (Lamphere 1996:488). In addition, second wave feminist anthropologists rejected the idea of inherent dichotomies such as male/female and work/home. Trends in research of this wave developed along a materialistic perspective. Marxist theories about social relations made research about women, reproduction, and production popular. Several of the scholars who follow this perspective focus on gender as it relates to class, the social relations of power, and changes in modes of production.

Contemporary feminist anthropologists constitute the feminist approach’s third wave, which began in the 1980s. Feminist anthropologists no longer focus solely on the issue of gender asymmetry, as this leads to neglect in fields of anthropology such as archaeology and physical anthropology (Geller and Stockett, 2006). Instead, feminist anthropologists now acknowledge differences through categories such as class, race, ethnicity, and so forth. Archaeology lags behind cultural anthropology, however, since the differences between sex and gender were not considered unti lthe late 1980s and early 1990s (Conkey and Specter, 1984).

The focus of contemporary scholars in third wave feminist anthropology is the differences existing among women rather than between males and females (McGee, Warms 1996:392).  However, this also encourages considerations of what categories such as age, occupation, religion, status, and so on, mean and how they interact, moving away from the issue of male and female. Power is a critical component of feminist anthropology analysis, since it constructs and is constructed by identity. Studies include those that focus on production and work, reproduction and sexuality, and gender and the state (Lamphere 1997; Morgen 1989). This has resulted in a highly fragmented theoretical approach, which is necessary for its growth since it is based on a fragmented subject (Geller and Stockett, 2006).

Points of Reaction

Feminist anthropologists first reacted against the fact that the discussion of women in the anthropological literature had been restricted to the areas of marriage, kinship, and family. Feminist anthropologists believe that the failure of past researchers to treat the issues of women and gender as significant has led to a deficient understanding of the human experience (McGee andWarms 1996:391, from Morgen 1989:1). One criticism made by feminist anthropologists is directed towards the language used within the discipline. The use of the word “man” is ambiguous, sometimes referring to Homo sapiens as a whole, sometimes in reference to males only, and sometimes in reference to both simultaneously. Those making this criticism cited the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which stated that language shapes worldview.  In other words, androcentric terminology influences thinking about gender.

Second wave feminist anthropologists reacted  against Durkheim’s notion of a static system that can always too easily be broken down into inherent dichotomies. Instead, feminist anthropologists seek to show that the social system is dynamic.They base this dynamic theory on Marx’s idea that social relations come down to praxis, or practice (Collier and Yanagisako 1989). Post-structuralist feminist anthropologists also criticized the theory of cultural feminism, opposed by women such as Mary Daly and Adrienne Rich. This was an essentialist view suggesting that there is a male and female essence that validates traditional roles of males and females: “the cultural feminist reappraisal construes woman’s passivity as her peacefulness, her sentimentality as her proclivity to nurture, her subjectiveness as her advanced self-awareness” (Alcoff, 2006). Feminist anthropologists argue that cultural feminism ignores the oppressive powers under which traditional values were created.

A further point of reaction happened after the initial creation of the subfield. African-American anthropologists and members of other ethnic minorities were quick to point out deficiencies in the questions being asked by the early feminist anthropologists. One of those to do so was Audrey Lorde, who in a letter to Mary Daly wrote: “I feel you do celebrate differences between white women as a creative force towards change, rather than a reason for misunderstanding and separation. But you fail to recognize that, as women, those differences expose all women to various forms and degrees of patriarchal oppression, some of which we share, some of which we do not….The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries” (Minh-ha 1989:101). Even today, graduate and undergraduate curricula still largely relies upon canonical works that are Eurocentric. For example, Zora Neale Hurston trained under Franz Boas, although she is excluded from anthropology because she never completed her PhD. The real reason for her exclusion may actually be her race and gender, and black anthropologists continue to be ignored and marginalized (McClaurin, 2001). In addition, early feminist anthropologists did indeed imply, in their search for universal explanations for female subordination and gender inequality, that all women suffer the same oppression simply because they are women. The later work done in this subfield has addressed this criticism.

A focus on identity and difference has become the merging focus of feminist anthropology. This means that there is a focus on social categories such as age, occupation, religion, status, and so on. Power is an important component of analysis since the construction and enactment of identity occurs through discourses and actions that are structured by contexts of power (Gellner and Stockett, 2006)  against the notion of “normalcy” and focuses on gender and sexuality. Specifically, queer theory challenges heteronormativity, or the assumption that heterosexuality and the resulting social institutions are the normative sociosexual structures in all societies (Gellner and Stockett, 2006). Queer theory challenges the idea that gender is part of the essential self and that it is instead based upon the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities, which consist of many varied components (Warner, 1993; Barry, 2002).

Leading Figures

Ruth Benedict (1887-1948): Benedict, a student of Franz Boas,was an early and influential female anthropologist, earning herdoctorate from Columbia University in 1923 (Buckner 1997: 34).

Her fieldwork with Native Americans and other groups led her to develop the “configurational approach” to culture, seeing cultural systems as working to favor certain personality types among different societies (Buckner 1997: 34). Along withMargaret Mead she is one of the most prominent female anthropologists of the first half of this century.  

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960): The first African American to  chronicle African American folklore and voodou, Hurston studied anthropology at Barnard in the 1920s under Franz Boas, who encouraged her interests in African American folklore. Data for her scholarly work and creative writing came from her years growing up in all-black Eatonville, Florida, and she drew upon the keen insights and observations gained from her anthropological research in crafting her fictional work. The only black student at Barnard when she attended, she received a B.A. degree in 1928. Two of her anthropological works are Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). Hurston’s contribution to anthropology resided not merely in her superior ability to provide vivid imagery of Black culture, but also in her pioneering efforts toward theorizing the African diaspora, and her methodological innovations (McClaurin,2001).

Phyllis Kaberry (1910-1977): a social anthropologist who worked with Bronislaw Malinowski while earning her PhD., Kaberry’s work focused on women in many different societies, especially in Australia and Africa. While placing great  emphasis on the study of religion, she also examined relationships between men and women.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was a key figure in the second wave of feminist anthropology, inasmuch as her work clearly  distinguished between sex and gender as categories of anthropological thought. Her theories were influenced by ideas borrowed from Gestalt psychology, that subfield of psychology which analyzed personality as an interrelated psychological pattern rather than acollection of separate elements (McGee, Warms 1996:202). Her work separated the biological factors from the cultural factors that control human behavior and personality development. Her work influenced Rosaldo’s and Lamphere’s attempts to build aframework for the emerging sub-discipline. Mead’s work analyzed pervasive sexual asymmetry that fit well with their reading of the ethnographic literature (Levinson, Ember 1996:488).

Eleanor Leacock (1922-1987) adopted a  Marxist approach in her ethnographies, and she argued that capitalism is the source of much female subordination. She also challenged Julian Steward’swork on hunting and trapping. (Gacs, Khan, McIntyre, & Weinberg 1989).

Louise Lamphere (1940- ) worked with Michelle Rosaldo to edit Woman, Culture, and Society. This was the firstvolume to address the anthropological study of gender and women’s status.

Sherry Ortner (1941- ): She is one of the early proponents o ffeminist anthropology, constructing an explanatory model for gender asymmetry based on the premise that the subordination of women is a universal, that is, cross-cultural phenomenon. In an article published in 1974, “Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?,” she takes a structuralist approach to the question of gender inequality. She argued that women have always been symbolically associated with nature. Since nature is subordinate to men, women are subordinate to men. She suggests that women’s role as childbearer makes them natural creators, while men are cultural creators (Ortner 1974: 77-78)). Ortner points out that men without high rank are excluded from things in the same way women are excluded from them.

Margaret Conkey (1943- ) was one of the first archaeologists to introduce feminist theory into that sub-discipline.  She is a professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Michelle Rosaldo (1944-1981) together with Ortner, she offered an integrated set of explanations, each at a different level, for the universal subordination of women. Rosaldo argued that because women frequently participate in behaviors that limit them, one must perform an analysis of the larger system in order to understand gender inequality.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes (1944- ) is a feminist ethnographer whose work questions the idea of a universal definition for “man” and “woman.” Her book, Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil, criticized the concept of innate maternal bonding, as women were forced to favor infants who would survive due to harsh living conditions. This books is now regarded by many as a classic in medical anthropology.

Gayle Rubin (1949- ) is an  activist and influential theorist of sex and gender politics. She introduced the “sex/gender system,” which distinguishes biology from behavior in the same way Mead did with her work (Rubin, 1975). She shaped her ideas from works by Marx, Engels, Levi-Strauss and Freud.

Lila Abu-Lughod (1952- ): seeks to demonstrate that culture is boundless. In Writing Women’s Worlds, she shared Bedouin women’s stories and shows that they find advantages in a society which separates gender. Her works, like many others, dispel the misunderstandings many western feminists have about Islam and Hinduism.

Key Works

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1993. Writing Women’s Worlds: Bedouin
    Stories. University of California Press. This book draws on anthropological and feminist insights to construct a critical ethnography. She challenges the power of anthropological theory to render adequately the lives of others and the way feminist theory treats  Third World women.
  • Conkey, Margaret and Janet Spector. 1984. Archaeology and the Study of Gender. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory,7: 1-38. This article critiqued archaeologists for overlayingmodern-day, Western gender norms onto past societies, such asin the sexual division of labor. It also critiqued that contexts andartifacts attributed to the activities of men were prioritized inresearch time and funding, and that the very character of thediscipline was constructed around masculine values and norms
  • Conkey, Margaret and Joan Gero, eds. 1991. Engendering
    Archaeology: Women and Prehistory. Wiley-Blackwell. This book brings gender issues to archaeology for the first time in an explicit and theoretically informed way. Leading archaeologists from around the world cot ontribute original analyses of prehistoric data to discover how gender systems operated in the past.
  • Engels, Frederick. 1973. The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Moscow: Progress Publishers. The theories developed by both Engels and Marx influenced many of the first feminist anthropologists. The quest for a universal understanding of female subordination, as well as the reliance upon dichotomies both had their roots in the ideas of these two men, and in the theories posited in this text.
  • Geller, Pamela and Miranda Stockett. 2006. Feminist Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future. University of Pennsylvania Press. This book examines what it means to practice contemporary feminist anthropology, at a time when the field is perceived as fragmented and contentious. A holistic perspective allows for effective and creative dialogue on such issues as performativity, pedagogy, heteronormativity, difference, and identity.
  • McClaurin, Irma. 2001. Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory,Politics, Praxis, and Poetics. Rutgers University Press.Unfortunately, the works of black and non-Western feminist anthropologists are rarely cited in major works, which means that they have yet to be respected as significant shapers of the direction and transformation of feminist anthropology. In this collection, Irma McClaurin has collected essays that explore the contributions of black feminist anthropologists.
  • Mead, Margaret. 1935. Sex and Temperament in Three PrimitiveSocieties. New York: William Morrow. In this text Mead explores the relationship between culture and human nature. Culture is considered to be a primary factor in determining masculine and feminine social characteristics and behavior. One of the purposes of this text was to inform Americans about the nature of human cultural diversity (McGee and Warms 1996:202-3).
  • Mead, Margaret. 1949. Male and Female: A study of the sexes in a changing world. New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks. By her own declaration, Mead attempts to do three things in this text.  First, to bring a greater awareness of the way in which the differences and similarities in the bodies of human beings are the basis on which all our learning about our sex, and our relationship to the other sex, are built. Secondly, she draws on some of the knowledge we have of all human societies, to see what has been attempted in what situations, and what the results were. This is done in the hope that we might learn or be exposed to an idea that will leave us the better for it. Finally, she tries to suggest ways in which our civilization may make full use of both a man’ sand a woman’s special talents (Mead 1949:5-6). Her analyses concerning the differences between males and females influenced many of the discussions that were to follow.
  • Ortner, Sherry. 1974. Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?Anthropological Theory, pp. 402-413. Ortner offers an explanation for why women have been universally considered to be subordinate to men throughout history. She argues that both a woman’s body and her psychology are perceived as symbolically identifiable with nature, while men are more associated with culture, thus resulting in the women being considered inferior to men.
  • Ortner, Sherry. 1996. Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture. Boston: Beacon Press Books. In this book, Ortner draws on her more than two decades of work in feminist anthropology to offer a major reconsideration of culture and gender.
  • Rosaldo, Michelle and Louise Lamphere, eds. 1974. Women,Culture, and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press. This collection of essays emerged from a course at Stanford University, as well as from papers delivered at the 1971 American Anthropological Association meetings. These essays deal with the issue of universal sexual asymmetry, or female subordination. 
  • Reiter, Rayna, ed. 1975. Toward an Anthropology of Women. NewYork: Monthly Review Press. This anthology is considered one ofthe ground breaking collections of feminist essays published in the1970’s, and includes works by authors such as Sally Slocum. The ideas expressed in this collection are heavily focused towards the development of universal explanations and helpful dichotomies.
  • Rubin, Gayle. 1975. The Traffic of Women: Notes on the “PoliticalEconomy of Sex.” In Toward an Anthropology of Women. Rubin attempts to discover historical social mechanisms by which gender and heterosexuality are produced, and women are consigned to a secondary position in human relations. In this essay, Rubin coined the phrase “sex/gender system.”
  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1993. Death Without Weeping: TheViolence of Everyday Life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California PressSet in the lands of Northeast Brazil, this is an account which finds that mother love as conventionally understood is something of a bourgeois myth, a luxury for those who can reasonably expect that their infants will live.

Principal Concepts

Subordination of women: Initially, feminist anthropology focused on analysis and development of theory to explain the subordination of women, which seemed to be universal and cross-cultural. Several theories were developed to understand this idea, including Marxism and binary oppositions:

  • Marxism:  Marxist theory appealed to feminist anthropologists in the 1970s because “there is no theory which accounts for the oppression of women in its endless variety and monotonous similarity, cross-culturally and throughout history with anything like the explanatory power of the Marxist theory of class oppression” (Rubin 1975: 160). The Marxist model explains that the subordination of women in capitalist societies, both in terms of their reproductive role, “the reproduction of labor,” as well as their value as unpaid or underpaid labor, arises from historical trends predating capitalism itself (Rubin 1975: 160-164) Engels,in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State,attempted to explain the origin of these historical trends (Rubin1975: 164-5). Like Marx, he attributed the oppression of women to shifts in the modes of production at the time of the Neolithic revolution (Rubin 1975: 169).  According to Engels, once men had property (land or herds), they desired to transmit them to their offspring via patrilineal inheritance. This was accomplished by the overthrow of matrilineal inheritance and descent systems, leadingto the “world historical defeat of the female sex” (Engels 1972:120-121).
  • Universal binary opposition: Anthropologists such as Rosaldo, Edholm, and Ortner used dichotomies such as public/domestic, production/reproduction, and nature/culture (respectively) to explain universal female subordination. Ortner’s use of the dichotomy to explain the universal subordination of women is built upon Levi-Strauss’s conclusion that there is a universal binary opposition between nature and culture. He also argued that cross-culturally women were represented as closer to nature because of their role in reproduction (Pine 1996:254). In the late 1970’s many feminist anthropologists were beginning to question the concept of universal female subordination and the usefulness of models based on dichotomies. Some anthropologists argued that there existed societies where males and females held roles that were complementary but equal. The work done by A. Schlegal and J. Briggs in foraging and tribal societies is an example of this. K. Sacks used a modes-of-production analysis to show that “hunter-gatherers possessed a communal political economy in which sisters, wives, brothers, and husbands all had the same relation to productive means and resources”. Another criticism made against the use of dichotomies was that these dichotomies were Western categories. They, therefore, are not applicable to cross-cultural studies and analyses (Lamphere 1996:489).

Domestic power of women: E. Friedl and L. Lamphere believe that, although females are subjected to universal subordination, they are not without individual power. These two anthropologists emphasize the domestic power of women. This power, according to this theoretical framework, is “manifested in individually negotiated relations based in the domestic sphere but influencing and even determining male activity in the public sphere” (Pine1996:254). Sex/Gender system: The use and development of the concept “gender” has helped to further separate feminist anthropology from the use of dichotomies and the search for universals.

Gender:  A shift from the term “woman” to “gender”   in feminist anthropological discussions, helped to free the issue of inequality from biological connotations.  These new discussions of gender brought with them more complex issues of cross-cultural translation, universality, the relationship between thought systems and individual action, and between ideology and material conditions (Pine 1996: 255). I. Illich defines sex as the “duality that stretches toward the illusory goal of economic, political, legal, or social equality between women and men.” He defines gender as the “eminently local and time bound duality that sets off men and women under circumstances and conditions that prevent them from saying, doing, desiring, or perceiving ‘the same thing'” (Minh-ha 1989:105).

Identity: A focus on identity and difference has centered analysis on social categories such as age, occupation, religion, status, and so on. Power is an important component of analysis since the construction and enactment of identity occurs through discourses and actions that are structured by contexts of power (Gellner and Stockett, 2006).

Queer Theory: Queer theory is a post-structuralist reaction against the notion of “normalcy” and focuses on gender and sexuality. Specifically, queer theory challenges heteronormativity, or the assumption that heterosexuality and the resulting social institutions are the normative sociosexualstructures in all societies (Gellner and Stockett, 2006). Queer theory challenges the idea that gender is part of the essential self and that it is instead based upon the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities, which consist of many varied components (Warner, 1993; Barry, 2002).


The singularly unifying and definitive feature of feminist anthropology is its concentration  on the roles, statuses, and contributions of women in their respective societies.  To pursue this research agenda,  individual anthropologists explore a wide range of interests and employ a wide range of theoretical models to collect and interpret data. It would, consequently, be problematic to characterize any one approach or model as predominant within the field at present. That observation aside, however, one should note that the field was more unified during its early development in the 1970s, when their was a concerted effort  to develop models to explain the universal subordination of women.

In retrospect it appears that  the preferred theoretical framework to analyze this state of affairs was Marxist analysis. This inclination stemmed both from the utility of the Marxist model for the analysis of gender asymmetry, as well as from the early foundational writings of Marx and Engels concerning the status of women in capitalist economic systems. Marxists tended to view  the oppression of women as being  carried out by men in support of the capitalist system and their own privileged location within it  (Rubin 1975: 164-5). Marxists maintain that the oppression of women supports capitalism on two levels: first, women serve as the means of reproducing the labor force. Additionally, however, women’s unpaid or underpaid labor defrays and conceals the overall cost of operating a capitalist economy, thereby elevating profit margins for the bourgeoisie (Rubin 1975: 164-5)

 Initial explanatory models to account for female oppression also took a structuralist approach, which viewed the roles of men and women as being culturally constructed. The reproductive functions of women and men historically led to the association of women with lower-status, but relatively safer, activities within the domestic sphere, the village, or other setting. At the same time, men’s role in reproduction allowed them (or forced them) to operate outside of relatively“safe” spatial areas. These dichotomous orientations managed to outlive the environmental pressures which originally prompted their adoption. Both the Marxist model and the structuralist model reject the notion that the oppression of women is associated with something innate and biological about the human species. Sexual dimorphism in humans is a biological feature of the species but serves only to facilitate the possible oppression of women, not to mandate it or program such behavior into humans (Leibowitz 1975: 20-1). For example, Mead’s pioneering ethnographic research examined cultures where male and female behavior was inconsistent with the western conception of rational males and emotional females (Leibowitz 1975: 20-1). Likewise, primate studies demonstrate widely varying forms of interaction between male and female apes (Leibowitz 1975: 25-31).


The most obvious contribution of feminist anthropology has been to increase awareness of women within anthropology, both in terms of ethnographic accounts and theory. This emphasis has challenged a number of enshrined beliefs. To site one particularly entrenched example consider the  models of human origins in which “man the hunter” was viewed as being the driving force in human evolution, thereby ignoring the (now obvious) role that women’s productive and reproductive activities had  in the evolution of humanity (Conkey and Williams 1991:116-7)

Feminist anthropology has been intimately tied to the study of gender and its construction by various societies, an interest that examines both women and men (di Leonardo 1991: 1).


Feminist anthropology has been criticized for a number of issues since its emergence in the 1970s. Gellner and Stockett (2006) assert that many criticisms have been a vital part of feminist anthropology, since it has a postmodernist basis of questioning assumptions. Without critique, the biases and assumptions that feminist anthropologists try to reject cannot be changed.

One early criticism, noted above, was made by female anthropologists belonging to ethnic minorities. Their criticism wast hat white, middle class female anthropologists were limiting their efforts to to gender, per se. Consequently, the subfield was ignoring social inequalities arising from issues such as racism and the unequal distribution of wealth. This criticism has been redressed both by a heightened awareness of such issues by the aforementioned white, middle class feminist anthropologists, as well as the entry of large numbers of minority anthropologists into the field.

Additionally, feminist anthropology has been accused of mirroring the situation they originally criticized. The field began as a critique of the androcentric bias deriving from men (male ethnographers) studying men (male informants). However, it has often been the case that feminist anthropology consists of women studying women in a parallel arrangement.  The field has attempted to address this issue by focusing more broadly on the issue of gender and moving away from the “Anthropology of Women” (di Leonardo 1991: 1).

Finally, the field has always been intimately associated with the Feminist Movement and has often been politicized. This practice is problematic on a number of levels. First, it alienates many from the field by projecting an aura of radicalism. Second, putting politics before attempts at impartial inquiry leads some to question the merits of the research.

Sources and Bibliography

  • Alcoff, Linda (1998) Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism: the Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. Signs, 13: 405-436.
  • Barry, Peter (2002) Lesbian/gay criticism.  In Beginning Theory: an introduction to literary and cultural theory, Peter Barry, ed.Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 139-155.
  • Collier, Jane F and Yanagisako, Sylvia (1989) Theory in Anthropology Since Feminist Practice. Critique of Anthropology,9: 27-37.
  • Conkey, Margaret and Janet Spector (1984) Archaeology and the Study of Gender. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory,7: 1-38.
  • Conkey, Margaret W and Sarah H Williams (1991) Original Narratives: The political economy of gender in archaeology. In Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era, Micaela di Leonardo, ed. Los Angeles:University of California Press, pp 102-139.
  • Di Leonardo, Micaeila (1991) Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era (Introduction). Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp 1-48.
  • Engels, Frederick. (1972) The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Eleanor Leacock, ed. New York:International Publishers.
  • Gacs, Ute, Aisha Khan, Jerrie McIntyre, and Ruth Weinberg (1989) Women Anthropologists: Select Biographies. Westport: Greenwood Press.
  • Gellner, Pamela and Miranda Stockett (2006) Feminist Anthropology: Past Present and Future. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Lamphere, L (1996) Gender.  Levinson, D. and M. Ember, eds. Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 2. New York: Henry Holt and Co, pp. 488-493.
  • Leibowitz L (1975) Perspectives on the Evolution of Sex Differences. Toward an Anthropology of Women, Rayna R.Reiter, ed., pp. 21-35. New York: Monthly Review Press.
  • Lewin, Ellen, ed. (2006) Feminist Anthropology: A Reader. John Wiley and Sons. McClaurin, Irma, ed. (2001) Black Feminist Anthropology. Rutgers University Press.
  • McGee, RJ and RL Warms (1996) Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History. London: Mayfield Publishing Company.
  • Mead, Margaret. (1949) Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World. New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks.
  • Minh-ha, Trinh T. (1989) Woman, Native, Other. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Morgen, Sandra (1989) Gender and Anthropology: Introductory Essay. In Gender and Anthropology–Critical Reviews for Research and Teaching, Sandra Morgen, ed., pp. 1-20. WashingtonD.C.:American Anthropological Association.
  • Ortner, Sherry (1974) If Female to Male as Nature is to Culture? In Anthropological Theory, John McGee and Richard Worms, eds.California: Mayfield Publishing Press. Pp. 402-413.
  • Pine, F (1996) Gender. In Barnard, A and J Spencer, eds. Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. New York: Routledge, 253-262. Reiter, Rayna R. (1975) Toward an Anthropology of Women. (Introduction). New York: Monthly Review Press.
  • Rubin, Gail (1975) The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex. In Toward an Anthropology of Women. RaynaR. Reiter, ed. New York. Monthly Review Press, pp 157-210.
  • Warner, Michael, ed. (1993) Fear of a Queer Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.