Intersectionality and an intersectional approach in Singapore

Here at Brave Spaces, we adopt an “intersectional” approach to social services, research and advocacy. But what do “intersectional” and “intersectionality” mean?

Bridging the Intersection

Rojak! We are as diverse as our food… A snapshot of multicultural Singapore at a hawker centre. Image from Alle Caulfeld.

When the Brave team got together to map out how we would like to support, serve and advocate for Singapore women in need, we were already keenly aware of the current inadequate capacities and capabilities to fully appreciate and support women whose aspects of their humanity cut across various labels and categories.

The feminist concept that is “intersectionality” takes into consideration different aspects of our humanity that intersect, defining who we are as individuals and a community.

Such aspects of one’s identity include ability, race, ethnicity, age, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, and more… so that’s a lot! There are even intersectionalities of privilege, which we hope to share in future blog posts.

Given that Singapore is a multicultural “rojak” (a mix of ingredients), it would help us to pay closer attention to how our differing intersectional identities can create privileges and inconveniences in our daily lives.

As we look at our realities, privileges and struggles through the lens of intersectionality, we develop a broader reflection and appreciation of our situations and environments. It is through the reflection and appreciation which we may discover ideas, opportunities and solutions to improve and transform our situations and environments, and move towards living fulfilling lives with dignity.

Check out this video that explains intersectionality:

An Intersectional Approach to Social Services

Reaching out. Image by Creativity103.

By taking an intersectional approach to social services, Brave Spaces holistically looks at issues and crises confronting various women. These issues may be complex, because of longstanding biases and prejudices, lack of visibility and awareness, or the many conveniences and inconveniences that people in Singapore have long taken for granted.

Because of the many aspects of our humanity and our interactions with persons and communities of other intersectionalities (of varying degrees of privilege and struggle), some of us may find ourselves multiply marginalised (marginalised on many fronts) and struggle in our daily realities. This may be due to ability, culture, age, and unfortunately made worse by abuse, bullying, harassment, and so on.

An intersectional approach to social services is grounded in these daily realities, and seeks to develop a more holistic appreciation and understanding of the issue.

A similarly grounded approach is taken in the training and provision of support services. Where appropriate or necessary, Brave Spaces may refer to or collaborate with relevant state, civic and civil organisations to work towards a better outcome for the well-being and dignity of the survivors.

We will be sharing a lot more on intersectionality and an intersectional approach to research and advocacy in time to come. We welcome you to keep in touch with us on Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest updates.

The Brave team hopes to continue raising awareness of intersectionalities within communities of women in Singapore. If you wish to join us on our Brave journey, please feel free to contact us or meet us at our next event.

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