in·​ter·​sec·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-tər-ˌsek-shə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce intersectionality (audio) \

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

Recent Examples on the Web That’s why intersectionality always has to be part of the conversation. Los Angeles Times, "Q&A: Two generations of Asian American activists on making the most of this moment," 24 Mar. 2021 The book is notable, too, for its intersectionality. NBC News, "'Revolutionary' photo book of lesbians reissued for the first time since 1979," 3 Apr. 2021 Her life emblematized the concept of intersectionality, a term coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe the ways in which distinct social identities, such as race and gender, are mutually constitutive. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, "Audre Lorde Broke the Silence," 25 Mar. 2021 The Covid-19 crisis and the killing of George Floyd focused the media on highlighting the disparities attributed to gender, race, ethnicity, and their intersectionality. Geri Stengel, Forbes, "How One Startup Is Delivering Mentoring And Coaching To Women And BIPOC Entrepreneurs At Scale," 17 Mar. 2021 In terms of bigger story lines, the series’s chronicling of Mateo (Nico Santos), an undocumented, gay Filipino American, is among its masterclass illustrations of the intricacies of (un-)citizenship, belonging, and intersectionality. Kovie Biakolo, Vulture, "Farewell to Superstore, a Show That Got Representation Right," 24 Mar. 2021 Elesser’s conversation with Yuna and Harris centers around representation and intersectionality. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Paloma Elsesser Stars In Coach Conversations With Meena Harris And Singer Yuna," 22 Mar. 2021 The effect of intersectionality on job recovery from Covid-19 is especially stark. Kweilin Ellingrud, Forbes, "Future Of Work Post Covid-19," 17 Mar. 2021 The members of Family Music Forward want to approach change through the idea of intersectionality. Frank Digiacomo, Billboard, "A Seat At The (Kids) Table: Children's Music Grammy Nominees — And Their Overlooked Peers of Color — Open Up," 11 Mar. 2021

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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The first known use of intersectionality was in 1989

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Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intersectionality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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