Intersectionality and its Importance

Coined by African-American feminist, Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality is a framework for understanding social relations by examining intersecting forms of discrimination. Discrimination against race, sex, and age exist on their own, but when combined, they compound themselves to transform a persons’ experience with oppression. Furthermore, intersectionality acknowledges the unique oppressions that exist, while also examining how they change in combination with one another. 

However, as people continue to build equality, many initiatives to end discrimination can often fall into the trap of considering only one element or ‘section’ of their demographic (e.g. race, sex, gender). For example, while the career of a young cis white and able-bodied woman might improve with the help of gender equality movements, a lesbian disabled woman of colour will continue to face discrimination due to aspects of her identity such as race, sexuality, and disability. Taking a look at the past, during the suffrage movement race was not considered critical in expanding the right to vote, hence, it took significantly longer for women of colour to gain the right to vote. In fact, Indigenous women were only given the right to vote in Canadian national elections in 1960. 

Thus, the idea of intersectionality becomes especially important when we as individuals and society try to work toward understanding the systematic disenfranchisement and discrimination that people experience. As we continue to forge an equitable society it is crucial that we learn from the lessons of the past and consider how marginalization can come from different sources for many reasons, and addressing one must involve addressing them all. After all, intersectionality is not about agreeing that people experience discrimination for many reasons, rather that it’s impossible to tackle such systemic and societal injustices individually. Understanding that the fight for equality is a fight for everyone’s equality and that working together cooperatively is crucial.

 By Hanko Ngu and Joshua Himmens

Sources used: 

Chandler, Leigh. “What Is Intersectionality, and What Does It Have to Do with Me?” YW Boston, July 2, 2020.

Columbia, Law School. “Kimberlé Crenshaw on Intersectionality, More than Two Decades Later.” Columbia Law School, June 8, 2017.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé “Opinion | Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait.” The Washington Post. WP Company, October 28, 2021.

Goertz, Gary, and Amy Mazur. “Politics, Gender, and Concepts Theory and Methodology.” Cambridge university press. Cambridge university press. Accessed December 12, 2021.’s_Movements_and_Job_Training_Making_Democracies_Work_in_the_Global_Eco

Hankivsky, Olena. “Intersectionality 101 .” BC Campus. The Institute for Intersectionality Research & Policy, SFU, April 2014.

Runyan, Anne Sisson. “What Is Intersectionality and Why Is It Important?” AAUP, January 24, 2019.

Steinmetz, Katy. “Kimberlé Crenshaw on What Intersectionality Means Today.” Time. Time, February 20, 2020.  

University of, British Columbia. “Intersectionality: What Is It and Why It Matters.” Vice-President Finance & Operations Portfolio (VPFO), March 8, 2021.   


Feminism: A (Brief ) History Of The Pursuit For Equality

“So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but for all girls and boys. I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”

Malala Yousafzai

These words, spoken by Malala Yousafzai, encapsulate perfectly the ambitions of the feminist movement. While feminism has taken many forms across many decades, fundamentally, it will always be about equality. And so, it is important to recognize feminist philosophy’s growth over history to truly understand its progress. Let us begin with Canadian feminism, and how it relates to you. 

Historians often describe the progression of feminism using the ‘wave metaphor’. This breaks down the history of feminism into four distinct generations, each defined broadly by the characteristics of the issues they fought. Modern feminism began with the first wave, occurring between the late nineteenth century until the early 1920s. First-wave feminists centred around issues of labour rights and the right for women to vote. Notable early Canadian feminists include; Mary Ann Shadd, the first black female news publisher in Canada, and Thérèse Casgrain, a prominent activist and radio host. 

The second wave occurred from the early 1960s to around 1985. Prominent issues of this generation included reproductive rights, domestic violence, traditional gender roles, workplace equality, and racism. During this time, notable events included the formation of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, the decriminalisation of abortion in Canada in 1969, and workplace strikes in the 1970s-1980s against women’s oppression in employment.

 Third-wave feminism is generally thought to have spanned from the early 1990s until the beginning of the fourth wave in 2013. The third wave emphasized confronting sexual harassment in the workplace, transgender rights, intersectional feminism, and violence against women. The latter in Canada became particularly relevant following the École Polytechnique tragedy in 1989, and the rising numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Many Canadian feminists embraced a wider battle against inequality, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous women, immigrant and refugee women, disabled women and many other groups became a bigger part of a growing campaign for equal rights across communities. 

And finally, today. In contemporary society, social media has come to play an instrumental role in helping advance the feminist project. Movements such as #MeToo and #YesAllWomen are examples of social media’s influence; that the resharing of these ideas have allowed for them to become an integrated piece of our culture. The fourth wave has made tremendous strides in allowing for ideas to be spread faster, rallies to be organized better, and demands to be heard louder. Powerful hashtags allow for empowering stories to be spread, helping to grow the platform and provide opportunities to make a change. Ultimately, feminism is about fighting for the equality of everyone. We must recognize the pioneers of the movement and the individuals who dedicated their lives to it so that we can continue to build each other up and pursue the betterment of our world. 

By Madeleine Embury and Sanjit (Neil) Samanta

Further reading:

From Instagram

What is sexual assault?

As the Status of Women and Girls, we feel the need to educate our western student body about sexual assault and the severity of it. Together, we must all keep our classmates safe

From Instagram

Feminism around the world

This week, CSWAG wants to highlight the inspiring work of feminists in moving towards a more equitable future. Here are a few examples across the globe that are doing just that.


From Instagram

How to help survivors of sexual assault

In our ongoing campaign for the month of May on sexual violence, our committee has created some strategies regarding how you can best support survivors of sexual assault.


From Instagram

Violence against women of colour and trans women

As a group that advocates for ALL women, CSWAG has chosen this post to bring awareness to the disparity of sexual violence against women of colour and trans women, in order to begin much needed conversations.

Links: ### NEEDS LINKS

From Instagram

Stratagies for dissipating rape culture

As May is sexual violence awareness month in Canada, CSWAG has decided to have a social media campaign to ignite conversations and education on such an important topic. To start off our campaign we have created a thread of how to dissipate rape culture.


From Instagram

Sexual Assault Awareness month

One of CSWAG’s guiding principles is to spread awareness and education. Please take the time to go through this thread to learn about statistics and long-term effects of sexual assault.


Article From Instagram

We are Women, poem

We are women

My body is my body

My body isn’t a buffet for you to pick and choose

I am not your toy for you to play with

I am a woman who deserves your respect

She did not tell you that you could touch her

She did not say yes, so why did you say she did

She told you to stop, but you kept going

She was uncomforatble, and you were pleased

We walk doen the streets scared for our lives

We cover and hide the beauties because you cant control yourself and your desires

You say not all men, but yet you make jokes about women

You say not all men, so why dont you do something

Women and girls are not your possession

Women and girls shouldn’t have to wait until they are older to feel safe

Women and girls gave life to you, and you choose to ruin our lives

Women and girls are human just as much, if not more than you

Avery H, CSWAG member

From Instagram

Sarah Everad

Following the tragic death of Sarah Everad, here are some ways to be mindful with your actions and keep everyone feeling safe, like Sarah should have been while she walked home.

Links: What can men do? # BROKEN LINK