Intersectional feminism and why we need it

Updated: Apr 21

Feminism is a movement that has changed and shifted greatly since the 1800’s, seemingly exploding in popularity around the world during the 1960’s to 80’s. At this earliest definition, it was “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” This can mean in the social, economic, and political spheres. But if we look at it historically as simply an issue for the binary sexes, there are many people who will continue to be hurt by it and left behind in this feminist wave and next leadership movement.

In order for all of us, truly all of us, to gain a life of equality, we have to look beyond the binary experience, and expand it to include the various social identities that shape all our lives and lived experiences.

In 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American law professor coined the term “intersectional feminism”. Intersectional feminism “centres the voices of those experiencing overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression in order to understand the depths of the inequalities and the relationships among them in any given context.”

But how does this affect WitchSchool Canada? Our year long course is steeped in the feminist approach and must continue to evolve and grow. Our current course is womb and moon-centric; but is not only for those who are women-identifying or those that can reproduce, but so far, that has been the majority of people who have enrolled. We aim to change and grow. As more people enrol - men, trans persons, non-binary, and others - it is time, (or way past the time), for us as a school to be more welcoming and much more inclusive. Many lessons have been learned this past year in WitchSchool and have thankfully led us to be better.

The goal of WitchSchool five years ago was to counteract the patriarchy and dangerously powerful notions from the Trump and political anti-climate era. We wanted to act as a spiritual bolsterer and maybe even a catalyst, for the feminine-rising in leadership and in Canadian led environmental action. A school for those to explore nature-based spirituality and feel more connected to the earth and to a like minded spiritual community.

But, it is now time for “growing-up”. And this is an acknowledgement of that.

We have clung too long to the feminism and spirituality mantras of the 70’s and we realize this. We must now grow and progress from being womb and reproductive centric, to being open to all and the feminine divine that resides in all humans.

This will require not only a change and shift in our curriculum - which we’ll go into full review by a team this August - but it also means a shift and challenge in our own personal development and understanding of how to better feminists, old and new.

A photo of tall trees all in a circle, with the text "intersectional feminism and why we need it" over top of the photo.
Intersectional feminism and why we need it

With respect and acknowledgement of this borrowed land from the Indigenous peoples, as we know that we are visitors and we have learned to call this land Canada, and as the Indigenous peoples know it to be the northern part of Turtle Island, it is our duty to explore privilege, respect of many spiritual practice, and working together on common goals and from a common heart.

It is important to learn about the lands we all have ancestral lineage from, but also the lands we reside. We ask this of every student and it is a starting point to best respect and love it, together. More deeply, it is the importance of understanding the privilege we have as settlers, practicing nature-based spirituality on the lands of the Indigenous peoples who were and still are discriminated and harmed, murdered and jailed.

As borrowers and visitors of land, we must respect it first as mother earth and respect those who have tended to Her for so long, as well as to realize its history and atrocities that occurred. At WitchSchool, we want to be better caretakers and to be kinder.

So, we are listening, we are changing, and we are excited to continue to act as a catalyst for true feminist change, and spiritual and healing leadership.

So Mote It Be.

To learn more about our program and

to apply for our upcoming in-person course, click "Learn More".

Bibliography and more information

Intersectional Feminism: what it means and why it matters now

Early Women's Movement in Canada: 1867 - 1960

A Brief History of Women’s Liberation Movements in America,but%20no%20movement%20yet%20existed