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Honoring Intersectionality

Happy Women’s History Month Beautiful People! Did you know that the 2024 theme for Women’s History Month is “Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”? There are so many ways that you can learn about powerful and influential women from our history to center yourself in this month, and I am going to try to sprinkle those in our content for the month, but where I want to center us is in this year’s theme. 


I want to start by centering us on intersectionality - I don’t think that we can have conversations around DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) without first honoring intersectionality. “Intersectionality is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination” (to learn more about Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, check out the links below). Intersectionality creates space for the tension-filled truth that while there are similarities among us, there are differences that make our realities and experiences vastly different in community. You might be thinking, this all sounds great Rachel, but how does this look, sound, and feel in the everyday world? 


Well, I am so glad you asked. Here are ways that it shows up for me. And yes, we are going to center these in women's identities because you already know, it’s Women’s History Month! 

  • I am a woman who is able-bodied. Those two identities are forever intertwined for me. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman without being able-bodied. My experience as a woman is uniquely shaped by being able-bodied. I need to make space for other women’s truths and realities who aren’t able-bodied. 

  • I am a woman who is white. Those two identities are forever intertwined for me. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman without being white. My experience as a woman is uniquely shaped by being white. I need to make space for other women’s truths and realities who aren’t white. 

  • I am a woman who is cisgender. Those two identities are forever intertwined for me. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman without being cisgender. My experience as a woman is uniquely shaped by being cisgender. I need to make space for other women’s truths and realities who aren’t cisgender. 


You can continue these intersections across spectrums of identity including sexuality, mental/ emotional disabilities, religion, academics, social class, age, birthplace, nationality, and so many more. Part of community is acknowledging not just the similarities but the differences. If we can’t do that, we are erasing those with different identities and experiences than ourselves. 


Women’s History Month for me is always about recognizing that as women, our struggle is tied together. We are always stronger together. I believe that with all my heart. I also believe that we are often the very same individuals who erase, invalidate, and harm one another. That is why this Women’s History Month, I am going to focus on my individual behaviors and attitudes so I can continue to show up arm and arm with my sisters who don’t look or sound like me in this work. I hope you will join me by coming back throughout the entire month to learn with me. 


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