Intersectionality: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

You may have heard the term “intersectionality” thrown around a lot, especially after the Women’s March on Washington. March is Women’s History Month, so now is a better time than ever to learn about intersectionality and why it needs to be recognized.

Upon its creation, Women’s History Month was designated to honor and teach about women such as Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women’s right to vote, or Marie Curie, a female scientist who won the Nobel Prize and discovered two elements.

In this day and age we understand that, yes, women have achieved great things, but we tend to focus on white women when we talk about women’s history or feminism.

Intersectionality understands that feminism can’t be a one-size-fit-all approach because not every woman faces the same issues.

It’s about being inclusive and understanding of the fact that even though progress has been made to establish women’s rights, there are still major barriers for women of color and for those who belong to the LGBTQ community.

For example, a white woman may face some disadvantages because of her gender, but a black lesbian woman faces more discrimination because of her race and sexual orientation.

A Latina woman has problems that Latino men or white women wouldn’t understand. A woman who is a lesbian has experiences that can’t be understood by gay men or straight women.

Some things, such as sexual violence, can affect anyone, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 20 percent of women are raped at least once in their lifetime and 66 percent of bisexual women have reported being raped. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network states that three percent of men will be raped in their lifetime.

You can join groups at Youngstown State University and your community to educate yourself on intersectionality issues, or just to have camaraderie with people who want to work towards helping all kinds of people. Groups like YSUnity, for example, are a great place to start.

In addition to these groups, you can also join groups on social media find like-minded people and share your ideas and experiences. If you want to get involved, check out the Younger Women’s Task Force of Youngstown’s Facebook page, in which they state: “Feminism is worthless without intersectionality and inclusion.”