Our identity is made up of many elements, for example race, age, religion, our social background, class, sexual orientation and gender – these are all aspects of our self-image. How others perceive us is also determined by these categories and this results in unequal treatment. The power structure in our society determines if these characteristics privilege or disadvantage us.
The idea of intersectionality is rooted in the experience of black women and lesbians in the United States in the 1970s, who felt inadequately represented by the feminism of white middle-class women. Against the backdrop of racist, homophobic, and classist exclusion, the notion of a commonly experienced oppression based only on gender fell short. The term intersectionality itself was coined in the late 1980s by the American lawyer Kimberlé Crenshaw, who used the image of the intersection of power paths to illustrate the intersection, overlap, and potentiation of social inequalities.
As an analytical framework, intersectionality reveals intertwining forms of discrimination – it not only adds them together.
Thus, complex interdependencies and interlocking systems of power and oppression become visible which is necessary to tackle structural discrimination.
In our video we explain the term intersectionality and how it can help us to recognize and overcome discrimination.