The importance of intersectionality in disability and gender studies

Type Journal Article - Agenda
Title The importance of intersectionality in disability and gender studies
Volume 29
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 24-33
Investigations into the relationship between poverty and disability are limited, particularly from a South African perspective. In addition, when this relationship is addressed it is usually in isolation of other social characteristics, such as gender. As such the intersections between disability, gender, race and poverty are often overlooked – yet internationally research points to gender gaps in outcomes for people with disabilities. This briefing seeks to address this gap by reporting on a national study on poverty and disability in South Africa. We make use of the theory of intersectionality as a lens to interpret evidence from a national survey, the South African National Income Dynamics Study (South African Labour and Development Research Unit, 2014). Specifically, we assess how poverty and disability intersect to shape particular outcomes for women as compared to men with disabilities. This briefing demonstrates that in South Africa disability intersects with gender as well as age and race to result in negative outcomes in education, employment and income for all people with disabilities, but particularly black women with disabilities. Evidence is provided for what we theorise to be the case – that disability and gender intersect to compound negative outcomes for black women with disabilities.

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