Resolution on: Multiple and Intersecting Forms of Discrimination

published 19 September 2019 updated 19 September 2019

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from 21st to 26th July 2019:

(1) Recalling Article 3(k) of the EI Constitution, which commits EI to fighting all forms of discrimination, and the following international instruments, which include specific reference to multiple discrimination and intersectionality: the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, which draws attention to the need to understand multiple forms of discrimination and their impact on women; Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), which recognises that ‘women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination’; General Recommendation No28 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2010, para 18), which recognises intersectionality as a ‘basic concept for understanding the scope of the general obligations of States parties’;

(2) Noting that the 17 sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030 ‘seek to realise the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’, with a deep and overarching promise to ‘leave no-one behind’;

(3) Further noting that the Incheon Declaration and the Education 2030 Framework for Action (adopted in 2015) for achieving inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all includes the statement that ‘no education target should be considered met unless by all’;

(4) Recognising that the provisions of these international policy documents highlight the fact that what are often perceived as separate or one-dimensional forms of discrimination, such as ableism, classism, homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia and xenophobia, among others, are actually multi-dimensional and intersect with each other, meaning that particular groups of women and girls are especially vulnerable to disadvantage, exclusion, violence and discrimination because of their social location on the basis of age, religion, sexual orientation or identity, ability, poverty, race, indigeneity, migrant or immigrant status, among others, and that women and girls in situations of war and armed conflict face are especially vulnerable to disadvantage, exclusion, violence and discrimination;

(5) Further recognising that a focus on multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination is necessary because many progressive initiatives, policies and strategies aimed at eliminating different forms of discrimination can sometimes actually reinforce multiple and intersecting levels of discrimination;

(6) Expressing grave concern about the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on the full enjoyment of women’s and girls’ human rights, especially the right to education and the right to decent work, recognising that diversity is a fundamental value of the labour movement, and a source of our strength, consider within our own ranks that we must expand and protect opportunities for women among the roles of teacher union leadership at every level;

(7) Acknowledging that persisting challenges remain because countries all over the world fail to act effectively in addressing and eradicating discrimination and violence against women and girls, and that intersectional perspectives are not sufficiently recognised or integrated into national programmes, policies, legislation and initiatives targeting gender-based discrimination and violence, including within and in relation to education, and that this is an unacceptable state of affairs in the twenty-first century.

The 8th EI World Congress, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21st to 26th July 2019,

(8) Urges EI and all its member organisations to ensure that their anti-discrimination policies explicitly refer to the multiple and intersecting nature of systems of discrimination;

(9) Urges all member organisations, as part of their work on achieving SDG4 (on education), SDG5 (on gender equality) and SDG8 (on decent work), highlighting the critical links between these three Goals, to increase and intensify their efforts to ensure their members are aware of and well-informed about the impact of multiple and intersecting discrimination on students and education staff, and are supported to take action to end the disadvantage, exclusion, violence that arise as a result of multiple and intersecting discrimination;

(10) Urges EI and its members organisations to advocate for curriculum content, and for initial teacher education, and continued professional development programmes for teachers and education support personnel to challenge and address stereotypes that deepen and entrench multiple and intersecting discrimination against women and girls, and against students and teachers;

(11) Calls on national (governments) and international actors to raise awareness and increase understanding of the multiple and intersecting nature of discrimination experienced by marginalised women and girls, especially within and through education.

(12) Mandates the Executive Board to:

(i) Include perspectives on multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in all EI publications, websites, and in relevant bilateral and multilateral cooperation between EI and EI member organisations;

(ii) Collect, publish and disseminate the experiences and effective practices of member organisations in addressing multiple and intersecting discrimination faced by women and girls in their respective contexts, both within education and within the union;

(iii) Promote and enable the development of policy and practices to promote and enable women’s leadership in education unions, in particular women who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination;

(iv) To collaborate with UN agencies and other strategic civil society partners at national, regional and global levels to address the multiple and intersecting discrimination faced by female students and teachers, which prevent the full enjoyment of the right to education and to decent work.