Songs in the Canadian Women's Movements

Messages Among Three Strands


  • William F. Danaher Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Kelsy Kretchmer
  • Jason Eastman
  • Rachel Whaley


This paper compares the use of songs in collective identity processes in three strands of the Canadian women’s movement p. the mainstream women’s movement, and two newer strands, the lesbian women’s movement and movement for Christian feminism. Each strand developed similar core messages expressed in songs but also messages that addressed specific group identity issues. We content analyze 56 songs associated with three protest marches, one for each strand between, 1979 and, 1981, meeting minutes, and directions about how to sing and march. Newer strands were more likely than the original to use songs to form and maintain collective identity. Alternative framing was nearly constant across the groups. Efficacy was least important for the International Women’s Day March. The Lesbian Pride March and March for Christian Feminism songs focused more on efficacy. Our analysis demonstrates that newer strands of movements must spend more time developing and maintaining collective identity and posing solutions to problems faced by their particular part of the movement.