Dustin Galen's Working Towards Equity: Disability Rights Activism and Employment in Late Twentieth-Century Canada explores the history of disability rights activism in Canada within broad social, economic, and political contexts. The book's main argument is that work was central to the lives of both unemployed and working disabled people and disability activists, as disabled activists believed that that economic participation and integration was "a crucial element of in disabled peoples' pursuit of full citizenship" (199). This book extends upon current thinking about the nature of disability rights activism, disability as a social identity, and the Canadian labour rights movement by illuminating hidden aspects of disability rights activism in the mid-twentieth century. Clearly and accessibly written, this book would be highly beneficial for academics, non-academics, and students interested in and/or new to the subject of disability activism.

Using a combination of archival research and oral narratives, Galen reveals that both unemployed and working disabled people contributed significantly to the labour rights movement in Canada, particularly the development of "new labour policies, vocational programs, and employment conferences" (11), in addition to social movement activism more broadly. The book recognizes that disability movements, rather than one singular movement, contributed to disability labour movement activism and details how these movements contributed both directly and indirectly to challenging ableist structures both within government and at the grassroots level.

One of the most productive chapters was Chapter 4, "'A Voice of Our Own': Disability Rights Activism and the Struggle to Work." In contrast to earlier chapters, this chapter directly focuses on the work of disabled people and explores how disability rights activists created a grassroots social movement and coalitions with non-disabled peers, not only in relation to work. One of the main coalitions was between the disability rights movement and the feminist movement in Canada. As Galen notes, the new activist groups that developed during this time were often led by women. These activist groups emerged due to the ongoing culture of protest in Canada, the "rights revolution" which included the women's movement and gay rights activists (81). In particular, the women's movement was important in the fight for disability labour rights. The formation of DisAbled Women's Network (DAWN) worked alongside other disability activists to advocate for the rights of primarily disabled women, but also with the disability labour rights movement as a whole. Thus, this book provides some strong intersectional arguments and approaches to disability rights activism. Coming from both a disability studies and gender studies background, this chapter was particularly fruitful to me, but I believe that this chapter is of great importance to anyone with an interest in social movements, public policy, or activism, in both academic and non-academic contexts. This detailed history of social movement interactions not only creates a new, more honest picture of the Canadian activist landscape during the 1970s, but demonstrates the importance of looking at social issues from an intersectional perspective.

There is a rich body of research in this book. However, the thoroughness of this book is, at times, a double-edged sword. Because this book is so thoroughly researched, with minute details strewn through each chapter, any missing detail or fleeting connection to other arguments, topics, or issues are that much more apparent. For example, Chapter 2 is very rich in its description of parental advocacy and the development of charity organizations and religious groups in the 1950s and 60s. While Galen does note on more than one occasion that disabled people critiqued parent advocacy groups and charities for being "overprotective" (52), the overwhelmingly descriptive nature of this chapter does not leave room for ample critique of this issue. This is not so much a criticism as it is a testament to the strength and thoroughness of the work and a note to other scholars interested in disability rights activism and history that this book is an excellent resource for future research ideas and problematics. I acknowledge that to provide a clear history of any activist movement must require our attention to focus on both the helpful and controversial aspects of that work in order to honour history as it happened. Perhaps then, this chapter could be read as a starting point for critique on the role of family organizations and the efforts of the "handicapped" community's attempt to carve a space for their own experiences at voices during this time period. Regardless, this chapter should be celebrated for its rich description – as should the book as a whole.

Overall, I believe this book is highly transformational in the sense that it reveals a hidden history of both disability and labour rights activism in Canada, demonstrating that "disability is everywhere in history" (Baynton in Galen 5). Thus, this work continues the seemingly endless project of disability studies as a whole – that disability studies frameworks can and should be extended to other disciplines of study. Galen expertly shows that epistemology matters when studying history; when we read for disability in any context, the outcome of our research necessarily changes. The future of disability studies will require us to continuously reinforce this need for alternative epistemological approaches. This book should thus be shared widely outside disability studies, including history, gender studies, political science, and sociology as an expert example of why disability studies is a critical area of study.

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