The Importance of Intersectionality

How the concept of intersectionality can help to understand how identities, power and privileges work together and how can robust alliances for a gender just socio-political development be built?

The terms “Intersectionality” and “intersectional feminism” were first popularized by US law professor Kimberle Crenshaw and later mainstreamed into the general social justice discourse. In a nutshell, an intersectional analysis of social realities stresses that multiple oppressions (gender, sexuality, race, age, class, etc.) are at play and define our social, political and economic standpoint as well as our political struggles.

Using an intersectional lens means recognizing the historical contexts surrounding an issue which differ from region to region and country to country. Long histories of violence and systematic discrimination have created deep inequalities that disadvantage some from the outset. The impacts extend across generations. While sometimes issues of socio-economic inequalities and (gender) identity / sexual orientations may seem separate at first, intersectional feminism illuminates the connections between all fights for justice and liberation.

Progressive movements are globally under pressure through nationalist populism and backlashes to more conservative values and role models. The political left struggles to develop convincing alternatives, which defend a social and gender just political and economic transformation as well as sufficiently diverse and robust alliances for change.

During a virtual seminar Emilia Zenzile Roig, Executive Director, Center for Intersectional Justice, Germany, Asanda Benya, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa and Radhika Khajuria, Senior Policy Advisor India, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids discussed how the concept of “intersectionality might be helpful to understand how identities, power and privileges work together and how robust alliances for a gender-just socio-political development can be built.

We are pleased to present the highlights of this discussion in this video.


Natalia Figge
Natalia Figge
+49 30 26935-7499

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