Intersectionality is the theory of how different forms of oppression intersect and impact on people’s lives.
We recognise that when sexism and gender are discussed without also looking at other types of identities and oppressions, the dialogue often revolves around the experiences of the more privileged women in society. This can mean that the issues and experiences of the more socially marginalised women are overshadowed, dismissed or erased. Intersectionality is understanding that one person’s oppression will be different to another person’s when multiple oppressions are at play. For example, gender and racial oppression will work together to make a Black woman’s struggle different to a white woman’s.
Intersectionality as a theory is not new, and it does not claim to be an instant solution that will solve everything. However, understanding how it can be used as a tool to explore identity, oppression and liberation can help us activists to develop more diverse and inclusive campaigns. This year, all the NUS liberation campaigns are committed to creating more intersectional campaigns and practices.
With the collective efforts of women students from across the NUS liberation campaigns, this guide has been put together to help student activists understand intersectionality and ways in which we can use it to create more accessible spaces and campaigns on campus. It includes examples of how students have successfully used intersectionality to improve both liberation action on campus and representational structures in liberation groups. We hope that this guide helps you to develop better practices and build stronger movements towards the liberation of all women.