This Glossary provides a central place to find the meaning of key terms in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) work and to access resources for further learning. It will grow and change as the GBV field does. If you find a term should be added or revised, please contact us at vawln@uwo.ca

You can view the terms associated with a letter by selecting the letter below. Crossed out letters do not have any terms. You can also click here for a PDF of all the included terms.



“Gaslighting involves (i) the attempt by the gaslighter to undermine his victim’s self-trust: her conception of herself as an autonomous locus of experience, thought, and judgment. The gaslighter's (ii) motivation is a strong desire to neutralize his victim’s ability to criticize him and to ensure her consent to his way of viewing things (specifically with regard to issues relevant to the relationship, perhaps in general), and thus to maintain control over her. The gaslighter (iii) pursues this goal by means of a strategy of manipulation, fabrication, and deception that (iv) specifically relies upon his victim’s trust in him as a peer or authority in some relevant sense.” [1]


[1] Spear, A. D. (2018). Gaslighting, confabulation, and epistemic innocence. Topoi, doi:10.1007/s11245-018-9611-z

Gender/Gender Norms

“Gender is based on the expectations and stereotypes about behaviours, actions, and roles linked to being a ‘man’ or ‘woman’ within a particular culture or society. The social norms related to gender can vary depending on the culture, and can change over time.

The gender binary influences what society considers ‘normal’ or acceptable behaviour, dress, appearance and roles for women and men. Gender norms are a prevailing force in our everyday lives. Strength, action, and dominance are stereotyp­ically seen as ‘masculine’ traits, while vulnerability, passivity, and receptiveness are stereotypically seen as ‘feminine’ traits. A woman expressing masculine traits may be chastised as ‘overly aggressive,’ while a man expressing ‘feminine’ traits may be labelled as ‘weak.’ Gender norms can contribute to power imbalances and gender in equality in the home, at work, and in communities.” [1]

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[1] The 519. (n.d.). The 519 glossary of terms. Retrieved from http://www.the519.org/education-training/glossary

Gender Equality

“Gender equality means that women and men enjoy the same status and the same conditions in which to fully realize their human rights and their potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social, and cultural development, as well as to benefit from the results of that development. Gender equality means that society values the similarities and differences between women and men and the various roles they play.” [1]

[See for comparison: Gender Equity]

Learn More:


[1] Trépanier, E. & Bouchard, M. G. (2011). Promoting gender equality: From theory to practice.  A training kit for international cooperation organizations. Montreal, QC: Association Qébécoise des Organismes de Coopéraction Internationale. P. 162. PDF retrieved from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwielfe5kfHiAhVPbKwKHabqAcYQFjAAegQIAhAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aqoci.qc.ca%2FIMG%2Fpdf%2Ftrousse_efh_vang.pdf&usg=AOvVaw0lHOB54Saz7MX2LlwsmzJr

Gender Equity

“The process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, strategies and measures must often be available to compensate for the historical and social disadvantages that have kept women from enjoying equal opportunity. Equity contributes to equality.” [1]

Since “access to services, supports and opportunities and attaining economic, political and social fairness cannot be achieved by treating individuals in the same way” [2], “equity work analyses and challenges unfair systems and practices” and works towards creating outcomes and access that are fair for everyone. [2]

[See for comparison: Gender Equality]

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[1] Trépanier, E. & Bouchard, M. G. (2011). Promoting gender equality: From theory to practice.  A training kit for international cooperation organizations. Montreal, QC: Association Qébécoise des Organismes de Coopéraction Internationale. P. 162. Retrieved from www.aqoci.qc.ca/IMG/pdf/trousse_efh_vang.pdf

[2] The 519. (n.d.). Glossary of terms. Retrieved from http://www.the519.org/education-training/glossary

Gender Expansive

“An umbrella term sometimes used in place of ‘gender non-binary’ or ‘gender non-conforming’, to describe individuals with gender identities and expressions that expand and broaden definitions of cisnormative and gender normative identities.” [1]

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[1] Abramovich, Alex. (2019). Creating LGBTQ2S inclusive, affirming, and safe PiT counts. Retrieved from https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/creating-lgbtq2s-inclusive-affirming-and-safe-pit-counts

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

“GBA+ is an intersectional analytical process for examining how various intersecting identity factors impact the effectiveness of government initiatives. It involves examining disaggregated data and research, and considering social, economic, and cultural conditions and norms. Using GBA+ means taking a gender- and diversity-sensitive approach to your work.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] Status of Women Canada. (2018, Sept). Introduction to GBA+. Retrieved from https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/course-cours/eng/mod03/mod03_02_01.html

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence is a term that recognizes that violence occurs within the context of women’s and girl’s subordinate status in society and serves to maintain this unequal balance of power.

Gender-based violence is sometimes used interchangeably with “violence against women” although the latter is a more limited concept. The United Nations (UN) defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” [1, 2]

The UN also notes that “While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable - for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.” [3]  The existence and impact of gender-based violence are therefore often interconnected with other systems of inequality and/or vulnerability. 

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[1] United Nations. (1993). Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ViolenceAgainstWomen.aspx

[2] United Nations. (n.d.). Violence against women. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WRGS/Pages/VAW.aspx

[3] United Nations. (n.d.). International day for the elimination of violence against women. United Nations.  Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday

Gender Mainstreaming

“Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities - policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] UN Women. (n.d.). Gender Mainstreaming. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/gendermainstreaming.htm


“Deliberate decisions and actions made by one nation or group of people in order to eliminate, usually through mass murder, the entirety of another nation or group. The term has also been used to refer to the destruction of the culture of a people, as in cultural genocide.” [1]


[1] Canadian Race Relations Foundation. (n.d.). CRRF glossary of terms. Retrieved from https://www.crrf-fcrr.ca/en/resources/glossary-a-terms-en-gb-1