Intersectionality perspective in practice? A field study of intersectionality perspectives within Ghanaian NGOs’ health work

University essay from Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: Intersectionality is becoming an increasingly important concept within gender research, emphasizing that social inequalities should be seen in the light of other identities than gender alone. The theoretical perspective, suggesting that identities interact and shape people’s experiences and power positions, has also gained ground within the international community and development sphere. However, to what extent the perspective influences development organizations’ work remains to be examined. The purpose of this study is to see if and how an intersectionality perspective is applied by development organizations working with women’s health in Ghana, a country with great demographic diversity and health disparities. Using a case study method, two Ghanaian non-governmental organizations are studied, searching for views, approaches, strategies and methods related to the ideas of intersectionality. The material mostly consists of interviews with staff members and organizational and project documentation. The results indicate a generally broad recognition of women’s intersecting identities causing different health challenges and positions. However, while some elements of the organizations’ work seemed to be informed by ideas of intersectionality, most of their practices cannot be explicitly related to an intersectionality perspective. The perspective is most prominent within the organizations’ strategies of inclusion and appears to be inspired by contextual knowledge.

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