Women’s Experiences of Spirituality within Activism: Stories of Self-Awareness and Connection


  • Carolyn L. Gulbrandsen University of Calgary
  • Christine Ann Walsh University of Calgary




activism, women, spirituality, self -awareness, connection




This investigation, a secondary data analysis of qualitative exploratory interviews, examined ten women’s accounts of their experiences with social activism to determine the ways in which spirituality is related to their social activism. Definitions of spirituality proposed by feminist scholars provided the framework for the data analysis in this study. Women’s commentaries supported constructs associated with spirituality that have been identified in feminist literature, where spirituality is defined as a dynamic, continuous process of personal development and self-awareness that involves interpersonal connections with activist peers, community and broader humanity. Women also identified novel themes related to connection that described interpersonal aspects of spirituality that were fulfilled as they participated in activism. Ultimately, women in the study appreciated that despite their own agency, their own affinity for activism and their appreciation for the role of their activism in their lives; they cannot practice activism or effectively work towards social justice in isolation.


Author Biographies

  • Carolyn L. Gulbrandsen, University of Calgary

    PhD Candidate, Faculty of Social Work 

  • Christine Ann Walsh, University of Calgary
    Professor, Faculty of Social Work


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