Intesectionalities in Development

Intersectionality exists everywhere. Within development theory, intersectionality is especially prominent. The meaning of the main word, intersect, can be defined as two or more things passing through each other. The theory of intersectionality is a framework that is centered on social identities. It is a framework that can be applied to a variety of topics relating to development, including gender, disability, poverty, religion, social status, job status, and others. Intersectionality affects everyone because everyone is an individual. Everyone is affected by a set of circumstances that is unique to only that individual person. A person might be deaf and female or unemployed and old. These are important things to consider when talking about development because everyone is in a unique situation and must be treated as such in order to effectively understand how policies and procedures will affect them. A person who is deaf will have different obstacles to overcome than a person who is blind, but a person who is elderly and poor has another set of obstacles. These are things that must be considered when creating policies for inclusive sustainable development.

When I took my course to get certified to teach English as a Second Language, I was taught to teach to the average student in the class – not the best, but also not the worst. It was reinforced that we should provide support, whether that is more challenging homework for the best students or more 1 on 1 time for the students not doing as well, as much as possible. When teaching as a class, it is important to teach to everyone, but each individual must be taken into account to ensure success.

In regards to sustainable development, some of the most common intersectionalities that exist are: gender and disability; gender and development; youth and development; and race, ethnicity, disability, and development. These individual topics are some of the most controversial topics. Gender is hotly debated on every level of the socioeconomic scheme while disability is being worked into policies (because we have long disregarded 15% of the population). Race and ethnicity have been a tense topic for hundreds of years, with racism still prominent today. But these intersectionalities are found in every day life. In sustainable development, we have to take these intersecionalities into consideration when drafting policies in order to be truly inclusive and not leave anyone out. This needs to be done on every level from local governments to the United Nations, with relevant stakeholder groups taking part in the discussion and getting their voices heard.

One thought on “Intesectionalities in Development

  1. Nic’s anecdote about his experience teaching to the average student, but recognizing that some students will have other needs besides his teaching displays how intersectionality should be accounted for within development. Internationalities of identities calls for a differing set of needs. In order for success, these intersectionalities must be understood and worked within the frameworks of the classroom.


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