Posted:29 November 2023

Intersectionality* considers how all social categories – such as disability, gender, ethnicity, class, ableism etc – are interlinked. Intersectionality recognises that different forms of discrimination and privilege are interdependent and create a unique lived experience for individuals. 

It is important to understand and have an awareness of intersectionality. Humans are complex beings, who cannot be put into neat boxes – we all have multiple layers to our own identities, which will impact the opportunities that are open to us, how we are perceived, the barriers we may face and the way we will experience life. For example, someone with a disability may face discrimination due to that fact. But a black person who has a disability may experience discrimination in a different, more compounded way. 

Dr Ashlee Christoffersen (The University of Edinburgh) stated:

"A person is not, for example, a woman on one hand and disabled on the other; rather she is the combination of these at the same time, that is, a disabled woman. In this example her identity as a woman is shaped by her identity as disabled, and vice versa as the elements of identity are not lived or experienced separately.”

Considering intersectionality is not about ensuring equality, it is more about striving for equity, where people’s needs are addressed on a case-by-case basis while considering all areas in which they may encounter barriers. It is not about creating labels for people, it is about creating opportunities and removing obstacles to support them where required. 

So, what does this mean for us – at club level? 

Clubs should be aware of the various reasons people joining their club will experience things differently. How one member experiences club life will be totally different to how another does. Is there anything that can be done to remove potential barriers, and make more people feel welcome to join? Gaining feedback on your club members experience can also provide valuable insight into areas that could be improved in simple easy steps. It’s often the little changes you can make that have the most impact. 

Recognise the differences there may be between people, analyse your own identity and experiences, and aim to actively see things from other people’s point of view.

Rowing is a sport that welcomes everyone – no matter what their background, identity or barriers may be. 


*Note: The term intersectionality was first coined by American scholar and lawyer, Kimberlé Crenshaw, drawing inspiration from Black Feminist movements in the US.

If you would like any assistance on gathering feedback, or in how to effect changes within your club community, please contact us at and we will help where we can.