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.
What is intersectionality?
Session 1: Intersectionality in educational settings
Session 2: Intersectionality and educational policies
Session 3: Equity, inclusion and intersectionality in the classroom
Inclusion in education: an international perspective