In this series, The more you know, the better you do, our summer intern Amber Byrd will look at different concepts that impact the fight for reproductive freedom in Ohio. First off, we’re going to look at a topic near and dear to our mission: Intersectionality.

What is Intersectionality?

The term “Intersectionality” was coined in 1989 by Black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw:

A theoretical framework that analyzes the way an individual’s various identities combine in order to shape their experiences regarding privilege and oppression.

Intersectionality highlights racial identities, gender identities, class identities, and sexuality.


Black women are oppressed in that they are both Black and that they are women. Furthermore, the intersection of these identities creates unique forms of oppression not experience by those who may be only Black or only a woman.

Why is it important?

Intersectionality examines the way different identities are treated in society.

Social movements such as the feminist movement have neglected and excluded racial minorities. It has been criticized for centering the heterosexual White middle- class woman identity, while ignoring the other identities that further marginalization such as, race, socioeconomic status, and sexuality.

It is important to understand intersectionality in order to understand and dismantle the systems of oppression that are pervasive within society.

What can we do?

In order to understand intersectionality and dismantle these systems of oppression, we must educate ourselves and those within our communities.

Micro level: Changing the opinions of those in our communities.
Example: Speaking up when a friend or family member says something biased and stereotyping of minority communities.

Macro level: Changes in policy and legislation.
Example: Submitting letters of testimony to state and local legislators when a bill or issue arises that could negatively impact minority communities.

About the author

My name is Amber Byrd. I am a second-year doctoral student studying Sociology (Medical Sociology and Social Inequality) at Case Western Reserve University. I am a summer intern at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. I will be presenting a series of information about reproductive justice and issues facing the Black body. In the age of Black Lives Matter, it is important to understand the lasting effects of systemic racism and how it pertains to reproductive justice and reproductive health. I will present this information through a series of fact sheets that will be published once a week. I hope you will join me in learning more about this extremely important topic. It is important that we all work together to create a more equitable future for the current and future generations.

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