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

One of the purposes of intersectionality, then, is to fight discrimination that exists beyond the reach of our legal and political framework. Nate Hochman, National Review, "The Limits of Intersectionality," 10 July 2019 To Younger, and many other feminists, embracing this intersectionality is one of the biggest challenges the feminist movement faces today. Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "The biggest problem with feminism today—and how to fix it," 2 July 2019 In listening and sharing their stories, the group was clear in emphasizing the necessity of upholding a collective history and championing intersectionality. Wilder Davies, Time, "Stonewall-Era Activists and Queer Millennials Discuss the State of the LGBTQ Community, Then and Now," 28 June 2019 The black pieces have categories based on the theory of intersectionality by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an American lawyer, civil rights advocate and scholar on race and gender. Dallas News, "West Dallas sculpture park provides an oasis in a rapidly changing neighborhood," 19 June 2019 In Hollywood, recognizing intersectionality will mean a shift of rhetoric and business practices, and there are promising signs that that is happening. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Oscars' Gauzy Take on Intersectionality," 5 Mar. 2018 Though the night obviously attempted to turn the topic toward intersectionality, microphones were still continually handed to white men, and, therefore, the narrative was co-opted at several turns. Sandra Song, Teen Vogue, "The Golden Globes 2018 Had a Huge Representation Problem," 8 Jan. 2018 The language of intersectionality is popular among liberals and on the left, used to denote the speaker’s attention to the subtleties of structural oppression. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 The National Science Foundation shouldn’t be spending a cent on intersectionality brainwashing. WSJ, "Give No Triple Points for ‘Gender Differences’," 22 Nov. 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

21 Jul 2019

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The first known use of intersectionality was in 1989

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