Deborah Stienstra

Department of Political Science
Phone number: 
519 824 4120 x54553
MCKN 515
Education (doctoral degree): 
York University

Deborah Stienstra holds the Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work at the University of Guelph, where she is the Director of the Live Work Well Research Centre and Professor of Political Science. She is the author of About Canada: Disability Rights (Fernwood, 2020). Her research and publications explore the intersections of disabilities, gender, childhood, and Indigenousness, identifying barriers to, as well as possibilities for, engagement and transformative change. Her work also contributes to comparative and trans/international research and theory related to intersectional disability rights and justice.


Over the past fifteen years, she has led or co-led multiple community-engaged research partnerships. Between 2010 and 2016, with Jane Stinson, from the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), she co-led FemNorthNet or the Feminist Northern Network. FemNorthNet  examined the consequences of economic restructuring for diverse women, including those with disabilities, in Northern Canadian communities, supported these women to engage in decision-making about the changes in their communities, and helped to amplify and insert women’s voices into discussions, decision-making and planning processes. Since then, Deborah, with various members of the team, has led and published research on the gendered and intersectional implications of resource development and environmental or impact assessments.


Deborah currently leads the Engendering Disability-Inclusive Development – Genre, handicap et développement inclusive (EDID-GHDI) partnership which includes partners in Vietnam, Haiti, South Africa, and Canada.  EDID-GHDI works to uncover, create, and share knowledge about and with women and girls with disabilities on their struggles for disability rights and justice.


Stienstra, D. About Canada: Disability Rights. Second edition. Fernwood Publishing, 2020.  First edition, 2012.

Levac, L., J. Stinson, S.M. Manning and D. Stienstra. “Expanding evidence and expertise in impact assessment: Informing Canadian public policy with the knowledge of invisible communities” Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal. 39:3 (2021): 218-228, DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2021.1906152

Nguyen, XT and D. Stienstra. “Engaging girls and women with disabilities in the global South: Beyond cultural and geopolitical generalizations.” Disability and the Global South. 8, 2 (2021): 2035-2052.

Stienstra, D. and T.M.L. Lee. “Disabilities and Livelihoods: Rethinking a Conceptual Framework.” Societies 9, 4 (2019): 67.

Nguyen, XT, D. Stienstra, M. Gonick, Huyen Do, Huynh Nhung. “Unsettling research vs. activism: How might critical disability studies disrupt traditional research boundaries?” Disability & Society, 34, 7-8 (2019): 1042-1061. DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2019.1613961.

Stienstra, D. “Canadian disability policies in a world of inequalities” Societies 8, 2 (2018), 36

Stienstra, D., G. Baikie and S. Manning. “‘My granddaughter doesn’t know she has disabilities and we are not going to tell her’: Navigating Intersections of Indigenousness, Disability and Gender in Labrador” Disability and the Global South 5, 2 (2018): 1385-1406.

Stienstra, D. “DisAbling Women and Girls in Austere Times” Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice 38,1 (2017), 154-167.

Stienstra, D. “Northern crises: Women’s relationships and resistances to resource extractions” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17, 4 (2015), 630-651.

Stienstra, D. “Trumping All? Disability and Girlhood” Girlhood Studies 8, 2 (Summer 2015), 54-70.

Stienstra, D. “For Michael Charlie: Including children with disabilities in the global South/North” Disability and the Global South 2, 2 (June 2015), 632-648.