Intersectionality recognises that people's lives are shaped by their identities, relationships and social factors. These combine to create intersecting forms of privilege and oppression depending on a person’s context and existing power structures such as patriarchy, ableism, colonialism, imperialism, homophobia and racism. It is important to remember the transformative potential of intersectionality, which extends beyond merely a focus on the impact of intersecting identities.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) was the first UN instrument to recognise multiple and intersecting forms of inequality. 'Intersectional discrimination' was further defined in General Comment 6 on Equality and Non-Discrimination, and is increasingly referred to in other UN instruments.

Applying an intersectional lens helps to centre development efforts on those most marginalised, both within and across already marginalised groups, and is essential for achieving equal outcomes for all.

Resources in this section focus mainly on practical guidance on how to centre those most marginalised using an intersectional lens in development programs.

See also: Any topics relating to specific social identities e.g. gender, children, SOGIESC, etc.

Humanity & Inclusion (2020) Towards more inclusive practices: A Disability, Gender and Age Intersectional Resource

This resource supports international development program staff to better understand the intersection between gender and disability, as well as touching on age. It provides numerous case studies that help to articulate the added value of an intersectional approach, and how this can be approached and embedded throughout international development programs and throughout all processes (from design to evaluation). It also discusses how to identify and work within existing social norms, through empowerment and participation as key strategies to change power relations, to create positive outcomes for women and girls with disabilities. The annex documents provide a Theory of Change that lists examples of activities that can be undertaken to address barriers.

Stubbs D and Tawake S (2009) Pacific sisters with disabilities: At the intersection of discrimination

This report outlines the findings of a study commissioned by United Nations Development Programme Pacific Centre. It identifies particular issues and challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in the Pacific. It analyses the social and economic factors that impact on achievement of their human rights and evaluates policies, laws and programs in the Pacific for women and girls with disabilities. It provides recommendations for governments, DPOs, women’s organisations, NGOs, private sector, donors and development partners.

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