Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is intersectionality?
The term “intersectionality” was coined by Critical Race Theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, though the actual concept was around since at least 1851 (see: Ain’t I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth). It is a feminist sociological theory that centers around analyzing and discussing how oppression often intersects, creating unique and varied experiences of discrimination.
Originally, intersectionality referred to the discrimination faced by black women that is not only sexism and racism, but an experience that is more than the sum of its parts (now referred to as “misogynoir” in black feminist and womanist circles).
Intersectionality has since been expanded to include the analysis of discrimination faced by anyone who identifies with the multiple social, biological, and cultural groups that are not favored in a patriarchal, capitalist, white supremacist society.
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color
This is the essay where Kimberle Crenshaw started the discussion of intersectionality in feminism. It is a long read, but a good one, if you are interested in learning more about intersectionality as a whole. It is academic, but not inaccessible.
Intersectionality 101 - Olena Hankivsky
Interest in and applications of intersectionality have grown exponentially in popularity over the last 15 years. Scholars across the globe from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, political science, health sciences, geography, philosophy and anthropology, as well as in feminist studies, ethnic studies, queer studies and legal studies, have drawn on intersectionality to challenge inequities and promote social justice. This practice has also extended to policy makers, human rights activists and community organizers searching for better approaches to tackling complex social issues. Yet most people don’t know about intersectionality and why it is such an innovative framework for research, policy and practice.
The aim of this primer is to provide a clear-language guide to intersectionality; we explore its key elements and characteristics, how it is distinct from other approaches to equity, and how it can be applied in research, policy, practice and teaching. Most importantly, the primer aims to show how intersectionality can fundamentally alter how social problems are experienced, identified and grasped to include the breadth of lived