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Glossary of Terms


General public definition

  • People are not a simple and one-dimensional group. Numerous intersecting identity factors impact how each of us understands and experiences the world around us.
  • Identity factors include ethnicity, religion, age, physical and cognitive ability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
  • Intersectionality recognizes the multiple aspects of an individual’s identity that influence their experiences.

Academic definition

  • The term intersectionality was coined in 1989 by scholar and civil rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw40 to explain how race interacts with sex and/or gender and other factors to create barriers for Black women. Today, intersectionality is considered more broadly as a framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s identity combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege.
  • Intersectionality is an approach to identity that recognizes that different identity categories can intersect and coexist in the same individual in a way that creates a qualitatively different experience when compared to any of the individual characteristics involved.

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