Strength Through Diversity

Strength through Diversity - 7th Policy Forum, 2 March 2020


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Since the beginning of Phase II, the Strength through Diversity Project has begun examining several dimensions of diversity, such as: migration; ethnic groups, national minorities and Indigenous peoples; gender; gender identity and sexual orientation; special education needs and giftedness. Yet, when addressing further dimensions of diversity it is crucial to not only address the dimensions one by one, but to address the intersectionality associated with them. There are many possible intersections between the dimensions of diversity, but also with overarching factors such as socio-economic status and geographical location.

The term intersectionality stems from earlier work on gender and ethnicity. However, it has also been widely used in other areas in recent years. Identities overlap, intersect, and form new, more specific identities with new implications. In the area of diversity and inclusion, intersectionality means that a person can embody multiple dimensions of diversity. As such, an individual might be exposed to the different types of discrimination and disadvantages that occur because of the combination of identities. While different aspects of identity are more salient in different circumstances because of internal or external factors, what shapes overall well-being is the complex interplay of different aspects. Such might be the case for a first generation immigrant and socio-economically disadvantaged girl with a visual impairment coming from country with strong patriarchal communities, for example.

With increasing diversity worldwide as well as greater heterogeneity in classrooms, the need for understanding intersectionality is on the rise. This warrants reflection about the implications diversity has on education systems and conversely, the potential role intersectionality plays in building more sustainable, cohesive and inclusive societies for tomorrow. Thus, intersectionality and the impact of diversity on the equity and inclusiveness of education systems will be explored at the 7th Strength through Diversity Policy Forum.

  • Engage with the notion of intersectionality (i.e. a person can embody multiple dimensions of diversity), its conceptualisation, its concrete manifestations in educational settings and the implication it has for the design and implementation of education policies;
  • Examine promising practices and innovative approaches used by education systems and schools to ensure that teachers, school leaders and policy-makers are well-equipped to respond to intersecting diversity and promote inclusion and equity; and
  • Facilitate peer learning between countries in the areas of inclusive and equitable education more widely, and migration; ethnic groups, national minorities and Indigenous peoples; gender; gender identity and sexual orientation; special education needs; and giftedness more specifically.

What is intersectionality?

  • Why intersectionality is not a luxury. (Emilia Roig, Center for Intersectional Justice)

Session 1: Intersectionality in educational settings

Session 2: Intersectionality and educational policies

Session 3: Equity, inclusion and intersectionality in the classroom

  • Teaching Senior School District Leaders of Color to Design Equitable Policies and Practices (Travis J. Bristol, University of California - Berkeley)

Inclusion in education: an international perspective


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