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Business and Human Rights, Gender Dimensions of the UNGPs, Intersectionality, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Women and Persons of Diverse Genders


In this article, we explore what intersectionality, as an analytic tool, can contribute to business and human rights (BHR) scholarship. To date, few BHR scholars have explicitly engaged in intersectional analysis. While gender analysis of BHR issues remains crucial to expose inequality in business activity, we argue that engagement with intersectionality can enrich and support this and other BHR scholarship. Intersectional approaches allow us to move beyond single-axis analysis, contest simplistic representations about gender issues and expose the complexity of human relations. It draws our attention to structures that sustain disadvantage such as racism, colonialism, social and economic marginalization and systematic discrimination. Moreover, intersectionality emphasizes the need to centre the contributions of those who have been marginalized. It can be used to challenge the legitimacy of the state and support subaltern, decolonized or postcolonial, including indigenous, perspectives. Adopting an intersectional approach can help problematize the neoliberal capitalist system and its constructs, in which the BHR normative framework is embedded, calling into question the reification of economic growth and its impact on individuals, communities and the planet. We must, however, remain cautious of attempts to co-opt intersectionality in the service of neoliberalism and remain conscious of our own privilege and discursive practices.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License