Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Applying intersectionality within health systems research: looking inwards and outward


Tuesday 9th October



Intersectionality was the focus of one of the plenaries at the last Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR) generating interest in this theoretical lens as a way of understanding and responding to health inequities. Despite its potential use, and long history in other disciplines, intersectionality is not commonly used in HSR. Intersectionality explores how social stratifiers, such as gender, race and age, intersect to create different experiences of inclusion and exclusion through systems of inequality (eg sexism, racism, ageism etc.). The purpose of this session is to expand the ability of participants to understand intersectionality, how it relates to them personally and their own work, and how it can be incorporated into HSR more broadly.


The programme

The first half of the session will introduce participants to the ‘coin framework’ and explore how systems of inequality are produced and reinforced within the structures and institutions of HSR, including the management functions of HSR (such as fundraising, forming research collaborations, coordinating research teams etc.), and HSR in practice (such as processes of identifying research methods, analysis findings, publishing, communicating results etc.).

The latter half of the session will explore how intersectionality as a lens can be used to understand privilege and oppression within the health system and how we can incorporate it into our own research. Each framework outlines social structures or patterns that maintain systems of inequality, e.g., racism, colonialism, ableism, sexism, ageism and heterosexism.