By: Grace Manning
“I became a woman when I realized we’re all equal in beauty, intelligence, and talent. A whole garden is more pleasing to the eye than a single rose”
With February being Black History Month, it’s important to recognize the power of intersectionality in feminism, and to celebrate women of colour this and every month. Intersectionality is defined as the “interconnectedness nature of social categories such as race, class and gender”. It is commonly used in feminist literature in consideration of the unique experiences of discrimination and oppression. It is how social identities overlap with inequalities in a way that particularly leaves women at a disadvantage. For women of colour, intersectionality acknowledges the challenges they may face because of their colour, gender, or sexuality. The use of intersectionality as a term is empowering in recognizing the ongoing mistreatment in women of colour, and can be used in the effort to address the racialized oppression of women.
The woman behind the word, Kimberle Crenshaw is a law professor who coined the term intersectionality. As a civil rights activist and scholar, Crenshaw had played a key role in third wave feminism. She was revolutionary in the way she centred the conversation of gender and sexism around race. She has earned her place among many other feminist leaders and is a reminder that “if we aren’t all intersectional, some of us, the most vulnerable are going to fall through the cracks”.
Intersectionality is as important to feminism as the women who represent it. It recognizes that although there is a common struggle of what it means to be a woman, there are additional challenges to women of colour fighting racial injustice. For white women apart of the feminist movement, intersectionality means allyship, and working with women of colour towards a goal of equality. Black History Month is a time as good as ever to educate ourselves with the work of black leaders such as Kimerle Crenshaw, listen to the voices of stories of black women, and to make sure that our feminism is inclusive of all women.