Intersectionality is a theoretical framework frequently used to explore overlapping (intersecting) social identities and systems of oppression, domination, and discrimination. According to this theoretical lens, to understand social problems like discrimination in access to services or the fulfillment of human rights, you need to look at how different biological, social, and cultural categories such as age, race, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, geographical location, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, etc. interact (intersect) with each other on multiple and simultaneous levels to shape an individual’s experience and opportunities.
Take for example access to sexual and reproductive health services, if we look at the factors above a person who is in their thirties, wealthy, hetero-sexual, cis-gendered, and living in a city in Western Europe, will likely have an easier time accessing higher quality services than a young cis-gender gay male from a lower-socio-economic status living in a rural area of Uganda. In this situation we may talk about so-called “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination”, the young man in Uganda may be discriminated against based on (i) sexual orientation, (ii) socio-economic status, and (iii) his geographical location.