A new term that falls under our study of inclusive sustainable development is intersectionality, which is the “simultaneous experience of categorical and hierarchical classifications” (Cole). Some of these classifications can include race, gender, sexuality, and even disability. All of the different forms of oppression that stem from these classifications (sexism, racism, etc.) are therefore mutually dependent and intersect, creating a whole system of oppression. It is a situation of give and take; people enjoy certain privileges yet others experience discrimination based on their status in society as set by these classifiers.
With this concept in mind, it is clear to see how intersectionality directly affects inclusive sustainable development. Inclusive sustainable development requires meeting the needs of people today while still providing adequate resources for the future and ensuring that everyone has access to those rights and resources. If a person is experiencing a form of oppression based on a hierarchical classification, they can easily be obstructed from accessing a resource, such as education or basic living needs. This especially happens with sexism in the workforce that often denies women of job opportunities or equal pay. If everyone deserves the right to have access to the proper resources to live a good life, then we need to break away from the social classifications that confine people within their designated spheres. To me, this seems difficult because a person benefits and another person loses, yet when that disadvantaged person benefits, the opposition feels excluded. We need to break that wheel and create a society that considers all groups.
While a societal challenge like this is monumental, there are answers to elevate oppressed voices and strengthen change through international convenings such as the UCLG World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and the GovTech Summit. The World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders is an opportunity for representatives in local and regional governments to come together “to define the global agenda of cities and regions for the coming years” (UCLG). Their mission is to be the voice and advocate of “democratic local self-government, promoting its values, objectives and interests, through cooperation between local governments, and within the wider international community,” (UCLG). Echoes of intersectionality can be addressed at such conferences because certain social class problems are in every city and region, and thus those representatives can be the voice to enact governmental change to erode such oppression. They do so by developing inputs for upcoming international processes, evaluating SDG implementation, and defending the interests of local governments on a global level. They are a sub branch of the New Urban Agenda and implementing its policies and directions.
Lastly, GovTech Summit addresses the concept of intersectionality by “aiming to build better services for citizens and better tools for public servants” through technological advances and recent reforms to government platforms (GovTech Summit). Here, the integration of technology as we discussed in previous weeks is crucial. Technology can play a role in providing resources to those who previously did not have them. Because technology is changing so fast, we also need to be able to adapt it to fulfill our needs, especially in government. GovTech aims to rethink how governments can operate. Changes can be made to break those social classifiers and give people the rights they deserve. Whether you are a woman, a person with a disability, a different race, or anything else, you deserve the same opportunities as anyone else.
Cole, Nicki Lisa. “Understanding Intersectionality and Why It Matters to Sociologists.” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 13 Oct. 2019, http://www.thoughtco.com/intersectionality-definition-3026353.
“LE SOMMET DES GOVTECH THE GOVTECH SUMMIT 14 NOV – PARIS 2019.” The Govtech Summit | Paris 2019, Group International, 2019, govtechsummit.eu/.
“UCLG World Congress and World Council.” UCLG, UCLG, 2018, http://www.uclg.org/en/media/events/uclg-world-congress-and-world-council.