THE TERM YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW.
Intersectional feminism is the appreciation of how different forms of inequality operate together, overlap and exacerbate one another in the process of raising women’s rights to that of men’s. All women are currently discriminated against to varying degrees, but discrimination has layers. For example, women who are black, or a woman who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, will face greater oppression than a woman who is white and heterosexual. Age, economic background and immigration status are also contributing factors.
In 1989, the term ‘intersectional feminism’ was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Harvard-educated American lawyer, professor, philosopher and civil rights activist, with her stating that “all inequality is not created equal”.
So why is an understanding of intersectional feminism so important? And why must intersectionality be at the forefront of how we tackle discrimination and inequality?
Intersectional feminism allows for the voices of women with overlapping, oppressed identities to be heard. It strives to prevent injustices from going unnamed or unchallenged by promoting an awareness and appreciation of the contributing factors towards discrimination against women.
In any given fight, it’s essential we all understand the task at hand and the depth of its wrongs. Without this appreciation, an appropriate and effective resolution cannot be designed and will not take place. Without an awareness of intersectionality and its effects, we as a society will fail to fairly acknowledge the prohibitive difficulties oppressed people face on a day-to-day basis. This failing will prevent us from being able to conduct ourselves in a way that is mindful of intersectionality and to provide the environment that is enabling and safe for all individuals who are discriminated against. By having an acute awareness of intersectionality, we can give people the ability to thrive in ways they’ve yet been able to – while feeling understood, they feel comfortable, and confidence can grow and potential can be reached. What’s more, by living our lives in this way, we can teach others to live their’s in the same way, and this in turn will help our society to, one step at a time, progress forwards into a space where true equality can exist.
Only together, including both men and women, alongside a clear appreciation of intersectional feminism, as well as intersectionality in totality, can equality be strived towards and be seen as an achievable prospect.