Photo Credit: Kyodo via AP Images

Intersectionality is a term that was coined by American professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw, in 1989. While the concept had previously existed, she put a name to it: 


"The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society.


Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things."


An intersectional lens can address systemic barriers and global crises. Intersectionality is a crucial starting point in all discussions and is grounded in social justice.


For more information, as well as references, on intersectionality, see:


The Urgency of Intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw

Now more than ever, it's important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias, and to understand how the two can combine to create harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term "intersectionality" to describe this phenomenon - as she says, if you're standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you're likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.

Kimberlé Crenshaw October 2016 at TEDWomen 2016


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Last update: August 2020

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