Using intersectionality to understand structural inequality in Scotland: evidence synthesis
An evidence synthesis of literature on the concept of intersectionality. Looks at what the concept means, and how it can be applied to policymaking and analysis, as well as providing spotlight examples.
This report has explored the concept of intersectionality and its use in policymaking and analysis. Five key considerations are presented below which policymakers and analysts should take into account when taking an intersectional approach.
Consideration 1 - contextualisation: When taking an intersectional approach to policymaking and analysis, alongside taking account of combinations of characteristics that shape experiences, these intersecting identities should be contextualised and understood within the systems and structures of power. This should be central to the ways in which policies are designed, implemented and evaluated to ensure those with lived experience are taken into account.
Consideration 2 - reflexivity: In order to take an intersectional approach policymakers and analysts should regularly consider their own membership of interconnected categories and practice reflexivity. This will allow them to better understand how their own power and lived experience impacts the research and/or policymaking process.
Consideration 3 – public involvement: Public involvement, when used sincerely and applied inclusively, can help to address the power imbalance between decision makers, such as policymakers and analysts, and marginalised groups. Participatory approaches to research ensure that those with lived experience of intersecting identities have a central voice in the development, implementation and evaluation of policies. While traditionally more common in qualitative research, efforts to redistribute power can also be made in quantitative research through, for example, involving community members throughout the research process, from conceptualisation through data gathering and dissemination.
Consideration 4 – reaching marginalised groups: Analysts should ensure that marginalised groups are reached by reducing the barriers to their participation. This involves, for example, ensuring venues are fully accessible and suitably located, translations are provided where necessary, using trusted mediators where necessary, and providing incentives and reimbursements to contributors in exchange for their input.
Consideration 5 – statistical approaches: The range of statistical approaches discussed demonstrates that no-one method fits all. Analysts should consider a range of options for carrying out intersectional data analysis, taking account of and setting out the advantages and disadvantages of techniques ahead of data collection. In addition, an assessment of the sampling approach and likely sample size could help determine which technique is most appropriate.
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