The Major Groups Framework Contribution to Intersectionality

Without committing to intersectionality, advocacy cannot act at its fullest potential. This term refers to how systems of oppression compound under identities of race, gender, class, ability, etc. This originates in feminist thought by Kimberle Crenshaw, a black legal scholar, in 1989 with the idea that the patriarchal system works alongside other societal constructs, but can and should be used when shaping larger policy frameworks in general.

One way this is accomplished is through the creation of the 9 Major Groups Framework in order to have greater inclusion to the formal UN process at the Earth Summit in UNGA Resolutions 66/288 and 47/191. These groups include Women, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous people, NGOs, Trade Unions, Local Authorities, Science and Technology, and Business and Industry. These groups have benefits by being included at the table. For example, the official representative of these groups can register for conferences, intervene in official meetings, make recommendations, they can submit papers, comments, etc on topics discussed, they receive allotted time to speak, etc. This is a major advancement; however, there are also limitations to this framework by excluding stakeholders such as persons with disabilities and older persons. Although higher inclusion makes it more difficult to support the general groups, the HLPF’s overseeing of SDG implementation allows for the inclusion of the 16 identities under the MGoS framework through the UNGA Resolution 67/290.

Despite typically thought of as progress, the intersectionality of identities can be used to dampen specific voices like persons with disabilities under the idea that their voices can be heard in the other major groups. By using a multi stakeholder framework, the breadth of perspectives and identities heard can only improve the impact of policies, even if it takes longer to go through at first. This is another case where unintended consequences must be taken into consideration when creating and contributing to policy work. Scholarship and dialogue about intersectionality has flourished in recent years, allowing for greater counteraction to those systems of dominance and oppression.

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