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.

9. Glossary

Context – the situation in which something exists or happens.

Intersectionality – is shaped by 3 key tenets: (1) people are shaped by their simultaneous membership of multiple interconnected social categories; (2) the interaction between multiple social categories occurs within a context of connected systems and structures of power; (3) structural inequalities are the outcomes of the interaction between social categories, power relations and contexts.

Intersectional approach - a way of identifying, understanding and tackling structural inequality in a given context that accounts for the lived experience of people with intersecting identities.

Intersectional data – data that takes into account two or more combinations of individual, social/cultural and environmental characteristics and, where the dataset allows, the context in which these combinations of characteristics give rise to relative advantage and disadvantage.

Power dynamics/relations – the way people or groups of people interact with each other where one person or group of people is more powerful than the other.

Protected characteristic – it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on these characteristics. They are: age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, religion of belief, marriage and civil partnership, disability and pregnancy and maternity.

Social category – a group of people that have at least one characteristic or experience in common, such as ethnicity, disability, occupation, caring responsibilities.

Structural inequality – inequality that is embedded in social structures, based on institutionalised conceptions of differences based on, for example, gender, race, sexual orientation or disability.

Systems/structures of power – a way in which power is shared in a society, for example through politics, education or the economy.

Systems of oppression - discriminatory institutions, structures, and norms that are embedded in society. Examples include racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism.



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