Yesterday during class, we discussed intersectionality within the context of international development, specifically in regards to the identities of individuals or groups of people and its implication on policy making.

Within class I defined intersectionality as the manner in which multiple identities that an individual has, and how it translates into privilege as well as oppression; as well as the manner in which it influences an individual’s capabilities and opportunities afforded to them. Intersectionality is exemplified by the Major Groups Framework, which represents each major group as stakeholder during high level political forums. There are 9 Major Groups:

  1. Women
  2. Children and Youth
  3. Indigenous Peoples
  4. Non-Profit Organizations
  5. Local Authorities
  6. Workers and Trade Unions
  7. Business and Industries
  8. Scientific and Technological Community
  9. Farmers

It is interesting to see how each of the groups are divided into separate categorizes as if there is no interaction between them whatsoever. However, in reality we constantly see how the identities within this list intersect, take women and indigenous groups or technological communities and business industries. The manner in which these identities intersects directly affect the opportunities afforded to them as well as the levels of oppression tied intrinsically with these identities. It is also crucial to understand the context in which individuals are coming from, because aspects such as culture can play a large role in determining what is deemed valuable and what groups receive better treatment.

It is important to note that within these nine major groups, people with disabilities are not listed. Personally, it seems ridiculous that entire industries are seen as stakeholders before actual people. According to the World Bank people with disabilities make up 15% of the global population. In terms of hard numbers this translates to 1 Billion people worldwide living with some or multiple forms of disabilities. It is crucial that we incorporate persons with disabilities within the Major Groups Framework because if it is not done so there will be a disconnection when implementing policies that directly affect persons with disabilities.

Intersectionality makes the creation and implementation of policy more complex due to the alterations to the language and original structure of said policy, in order to assure that they harmonize with multiple identities of a state’s population. While although intersectionality does complicate policy making, its complexities do not negate the fact that policies must serve everyone within society. Finally, if the policies seem “too” complex, then it is time to start questioning who our policy makers are, and how can we diversify the pool of policy makers domestically and internationally