“Intersectionality” as a term was first coined by Kimberle Crenshaw in her essay, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics” (1989). As a concept, it arose from black women’s critiques of the feminist movement and its tendency to ignore the ways in which race came with its own set of oppressions that interacted with gendered ones.

Today, intersectionality can broadly be thought of as describing the way social identities or groups impact the way individuals experience discrimination and systems of oppression. In the context of gender-based violence, we think about the ways that various identities shape the way that someone experiences violence, the ways they respond to it, and the various barriers and challenges they face when trying to address it.

Thinking in intersectional ways helps to understand how varied the experience of gender-based violence can be, and how it might fit into the experiences of an individual’s life. Intersectionality is a concept best explained in the words of those who theorize it and those who describe their experience with it. For further reading:

Crenshaw, Kimberle. "Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics." U. Chi. Legal F. (1989): 139.

Crenshaw, Kimberle. "Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color." Stanford law review (1991): 1241-1299.

Hancock, Ange-Marie. "When multiplication doesn't equal quick addition: Examining intersectionality as a research paradigm." Perspectives on politics 5, no. 01 (2007): 63-79.

Mackenzie, Catriona, and Natalie Stoljar. "Relational autonomy: Feminist perspectives on automony, agency, and the social self." (2000).

McCall, Leslie. "The complexity of intersectionality." Signs 40, no. 1 (2014).

Nash, Jennifer C. "Re-thinking intersectionality." Feminist review 89, no. 1 (2008): 1-15.

Yuval-Davis, Nira. "Intersectionality and feminist politics." European Journal of Women's Studies 13, no. 3 (2006): 193-209.