Intersectionality has given many advocates a way to frame their circumstances and to fight for their visibility and inclusion.
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, 2015.
What is intersectionality?
Intersectionality is recognising that people's lives are often shaped by many factors, rather than just one. Many people have overlapping protected characteristics, meaning they may experience discrimination in more or different ways. For example, the barriers that black women face may be due to their gender, their ethnicity and/or a combination of such protected characteristics
The term was created by scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989, and is widely recognised as an important aspect of EDI today.
Why do we need intersectionality?
The aim of intersectionality is to understand that the protected characteristics involved in one's identity are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Denying this has previously lead to certain cases of discrimination being dismissed because they were deemed too 'complicated'.
However, we need to acknowledge and embrace this complexity, as not doing so would be to ignore reality. For this reason, when we think about how we can create an open and inclusive environment for our staff and students, we also trying to think about those who fit within the intersections.