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Adopting an intersectional approach

Last edited: July 27, 2020

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Interventions to address gender roles and stereotypes cannot occur without an understanding that although all women are in some way subject to gender discrimination, all women are not discriminated against in the same way, while particular groups of women (with different economic, social, political and cultural status) may face multiple forms of discrimination (Crenshaw 1991 and Wing 1997). Intersectional discrimination has been recognized as a serious obstacle to the achievement of gender equality and is at the core of the ‘leave no one behind’ principle of the Sustainable Development Goals. Factors including race, ethnicity, caste, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, geographic location, disability, HIV status or status as a migrant, refugee or internally displaced person, can all influence the forms and nature of violence women and girls may suffer (Fergus 2012). These factors can direct discrimination and violence towards, as well as create inequalities that are unique to particular groups of women, or that disproportionately affect some groups of women. A sound understanding of the multiple forms of discrimination faced by different groups of women in different contexts needs to be embedded in all interventions.

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