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Can Bull Med Hist. 2006;23(1):89-117.

The evolution of the birth control handbook: from student peer-education manual to feminist self-empowerment text, 1968-1975.

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Institute of Women's Studies and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa.


Peer education has been recognized as a significant means of educating youths, especially about sexual health issues. Although considered a relatively recent development, there are, however, older examples of its existence. In Canada, the Birth Control Handbook (1968) stands out as a stellar example of one student peer-education manual. This article establishes the Handbook's student peer-education roots. But it also charts the Handbook's evolution from a revolutionary student peer-education manual to a key feminist self-empowerment text within the Quebec context between 1968 and 1975. Finally, this article includes the recollections of some of the key individuals involved in the development, production and distribution of the Handbook. In so doing, this article confirms the Handbook's significance to both anglophone and francophone student and feminist politics as well as to women seeking information about birth control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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