#OTalk 12th April 2022 Intersectionality: What is it and why should occupational therapists know about it?  Hosted by @AbleOTUK

This week @AbleOTUK will be hosting the chat 

Intersectionality, n.

The interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise.’

(Oxford Dictionary)

Kimberle Crenshaw a law professor and social theorist, first coined the word intersectionality in her 1989 paper “Demarginalising The Intersection Of Race And Sex: A Black Feminist Critique Of Anti-discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory And Antiracist Politics.” to describe the dialogue between feminism and women of colour, highlighting the different barriers women face dependent on the colour of their skin. This movement called for better inclusion and understanding of the different issues, such as racism, women of colour face in seeking gender equality.  

Since then, the term intersectionality has broadened to include protected characteristics, such as class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability and gender.

Intersectional theory describes multiple overlapping identities such as, language, occupation, level of education, income, marital status, whether you are a parent or not. That may oppress a person or a group of people. It believes that markers of identity, like race or sexuality, don’t just exist separately, but they all overlap or interconnect when it comes to oppression and power. It’s the idea that these layers do not exist separately from each other but intersect to form a person’s identity, and can magnify the discrimination and marginalisation they might experience.

Intersectionality happens in society any time a person has multiple forces of discrimination working against them.

Gender and Disability in Healthcare example.

Jane has had problems with attention her whole life. Although she has been to see many doctors and other health professionals throughout her life. It was not until Jane was an adult that she was finally diagnosed with ADHD. However, her doctor wonders why she wasn’t diagnosed sooner.

ADHD is a well-known disability. However, there is little research into this disability for women. This is because, for a long time, it was thought to only impact on males. Therefore, the symptoms and diagnosis of the disease were written for men. 

Since there is little research on ADHD for women, diagnosis doesn’t usually happen until they are older. Therefore, a woman with ADHD might feel unique oppression in healthcare.

Question 1-  To what extent are you aware of the term Intersectionality, and what does it mean to you?

Question 2 – If you feel comfortable please share your intersectionality identity, in terms of class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability and gender, and any other factors that make up your Identity.

Question 3 – What if any discrimination of identity have you observed within services you have accessed or work/ed within?

Question 4 – Can you explain why understanding intersectionality is important within occupational therapy?

Question 5 – How might occupational therapy practice ensure it considers a person’s intersectionality?






Host:  @AbleOTUK

Support on OTalk Account: Helen @helen_otuk

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD.

1 thought on “#OTalk 12th April 2022 Intersectionality: What is it and why should occupational therapists know about it?  Hosted by @AbleOTUK”

  1. Thankyou for this..and I will look forward to joining OTalk next Tuesday.

    Best wishes

    Catherine McNulty


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