in·​ter·​sec·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | \ˌin-tər-ˌsek-shə-ˈna-lə-tē \

Definition of intersectionality 

: the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups [Kimberlé] Crenshaw introduced the theory of intersectionality, the idea that when it comes to thinking about how inequalities persist, categories like gender, race, and class are best understood as overlapping and mutually constitutive rather than isolated and distinct.— Adia Harvey Wingfield

Examples of intersectionality in a Sentence

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The National Science Foundation pours millions of taxpayer dollars into intersectionality and microaggression studies to smoke out invisible STEM sexism and to promote diversity in research labs. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Sorry, Feminists, Men Are Better at Scrabble," 16 Nov. 2018 In addition to that rousing speech, Truth is often remembered for embodying the spirit of intersectionality, far before the concept became a tenet of modern-day feminism. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "Women's History Month: 3 Women Who Changed America," 30 Mar. 2018 Later in the paper, and perhaps in anticipation of critique, Crenshaw explains intersectionality literally. Kory Stamper, The Cut, "A Brief, Convoluted History of the Word ‘Intersectionality’," 9 Mar. 2018 This interview with Crenshaw explores what her original intention behind the term and her views on how intersectionality operates in the world. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: Bryan Stevenson's Call To Action for CEOs," 27 June 2018 Her writing has been featured in a number of local outlets, including a round-table discussion on the importance of intersectionality in feminism for the Reader. Katie Powers, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Education / Gender Issues / LGBTQ+ Alicia Swiz wants to make you a better feminist—by taking her online course," 21 June 2018 This includes respecting and affirming the language that bathes our existence, and explores the intersectionality with other identities. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "TEACHING FOR BLACK LIVES," 10 July 2018 Groups back then, such as Boston’s Combahee River Collective of black lesbian feminists, paved the way for today’s intersectionality. Cate Mcquaid,, "At the ICA, throwing conceptual grenades," 28 June 2018 That intersectionality is almost certainly going to end up manifesting physically in the final episode. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "“Kiksuya” is Westworld season 2’s best episode so far," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intersectionality.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of intersectionality

1989, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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The first known use of intersectionality was in 1989

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