It has been 110 years since International Women's Day was first observed in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Now celebrated on March 8 across the globe, this day seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the progress made towards gender equality.
At the same time, it also serves as a reminder of the work left to do. Mainstream feminism, for instance, has been criticized for its failure to recognize the intersecting oppressions experienced by Indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, queer women and transgender women. For example, Black feminists have long articulated the ways that they were excluded, forgotten and faced sexism within anti-racist movements due to their gender; while at the same time, they were excluded, forgotten and faced racism within feminist movements due to their race. These inequalities are multiplicative, historically entrenched and continue to be perpetuated today.
Coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, the concept of Intersectionality recognizes and acknowledges that women can face many different types of oppression simultaneously based on their gender, race, class and other social identities. Intersectional feminism seeks to address these “intersections” and encompass all women, in all their diversity. This International Women’s Day, we encourage you to read, watch, listen and learn from women of diverse backgrounds and experiences. We can celebrate the progress we have made while working towards a future that is more equitable and inclusive for all women and girls.
To learn more about Intersectional Feminism, please watch this talk given by Dr. Crenshaw herself where she outlines the evolution of this concept.
Interested in learning more? Consider watching this video about Intersectionality, listening to Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s podcast entitled: Intersectionality Matters or watching Roxanne Gay’s Ted Talk: Confessions of a Bad Feminist. The International Women’s Development Agency also has some tips for those who are looking to be an Intersectional Feminist ally.