Intersectionality, a term that refers to the systems of oppression that are compounded under identities such as race, gender, class, and ability, is pertinent for inclusive sustainable development as it is the crux of inclusivity. The concept is visible in all aspects of life, especially within development theory. It is based in social identities and can be applied to almost every aspect of development, from gender inclusivity to social status. For example, a single mother that struggles with the trials and tribulations of sexism in a westernized society is facing a very different obstacle than somebody that is deaf in a developing community. These differences in overall struggle must be noted when discussing development because otherwise the problems of entire populations will be ignored in the grand scheme of things. Without committing to this concept of intersectionality, there is no chance for full advocacy on a global scale, and therefore no chance for global development.
The United Nations created 9 Major Groups Frameworks in an attempt to have greater inclusion within the processes of policy-making. The groups are the following:
- Children and youth
- Indigenous peoples
- Trade Unions
- Local Authorities
- Science and Technology
- Business and Industry
Because these groups have been established, more emphasis is put on their individual struggles and therefore the problems that they face have a higher chance of receiving aid. Representatives of each group are given access to conferences, meetings, and an opportunity to make recommendations within the global sphere, but what about the groups that are not included in these 9 frameworks? Herein lies the problem; although the United Nations is making a genuine effort to include specific communities in their efforts towards global inclusive sustainable development, large portions of the population are still left out entirely. For example, person with disabilities are not one of the 9 groups even though they make up approximately 15% of the entire earth’s population, something that acts as an extreme hindrance on their ability to be heard within the global forum.
When considering global development, these groups must be taken into consideration in addition to those who are not mentioned. In a sense, the creation of these 9 groups holds the ability to overshadow other marginalized groups such as disabled persons. Because these 9 groups have been formally established, most of the emphasis within the field of development have been placed on them, leaving other populations to receive less aid. It’s by this logic that multi-stakeholder frameworks that include all marginalized populations should be of the utmost importance. This, of course, is much easier said than done. If all marginalized groups of the population were included in this framework, there would be little done for each group as the force for development can only do so much for each group. Unintended consequences are always apparent when striving for global development, something that has caused things such as the SDGs great stress when setting objectives and targets. However, the concept of intersectionality continues to grow as a larger amount of inclusion becomes both necessary and normal.