Intersectionalities in Sustainable Development

Throughout the topic of sustainable development there exists many intersectionalities. However, before one can fully understand where these intersectionalities exist within the area of inclusive development, it is first important to understand what an intersectionality is. In a broad sense, an intersectionality, is a meeting point or a crossing point of two objects or concepts. However, this definition is exceedingly broad and does not directly speak to the issue at hand. Therefore, for the purpose of this reflection an intersectionality can be defined as the place at which two aspects of sustainable development cross or intersect. With these definitions established, one can next define what intersectionalities exist within the topic of sustainable development.

There are many intersectionalities that exist within the topic of sustainable development. Three of the most prominent ones explored by this class are: [1] gender and disability, [2] gender and development, and [3] youth and development. However, many other intersectionalities exist within the subject of sustainable development exists as well. These include: education and disability and education and poverty. Understanding the relationship between these variables, and many more like them, is absolutely critical to understanding how truly sustainable development can occur. For example, if one understands how addressing gender disparities can influence overall development or how gender inequities exist with sub-groups such as persons with disabilities, more efficient strategies can be developed. When these relationships are ignored; however, achieving sustainable development can be exceedingly difficult if not impossible. Intersectionailites can also exist within different international agreements that address the issue of sustainable development. For example, internsectionalities exist exist between the SDGs and the CRPD in terms of inclusive education. Therefore, addressing distinct intersectionalities that exist within the topic of sustainable development is of the utmost importance.

Yet, as is discussed by Gabby in her blog post, adequate attention is not always given to these intersectionalitites. Even more troubling is that the intersectionalities that exist within sustainable development are not always understood. Instead of perceiving or addressing sustainable development as the complex web of overlapping issues that it is, some address sustainable development as a series of isolated issues that have no or minimal influence on each other. These patterns of thinking leads to ineffective strategies that do not adequately address many of the root issues associated with sustainable development. Only when the intersectionalities associated with sustainable development are fully addressed can true sustainable, inclusive development be achieved.