Eugenia De Rosa

How can rights based measurement approaches and inequality indicators take into account intersectionality?

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Keywords: Intersectionality; Human Rights; (In)Equalities Measurement; Horizontal Inequalities; Multiple Discriminations.

Intersectionality is a fundamental and challenging concept for sociology, and an analytical category useful for the analysis of inequalities and human rights. The expectation that intersectionality could be a more appropriate paradigm to deal with multiple and interlocking inequalities and discrimination has recently led various actors working on inequalities and HR (academics, policy makers, international organizations, European institutions, NGOs and CSOs) to apply this concept. Based on the assumption that multiple dimensions of group inequalities need to be considered if human rights and inequality frameworks are to reflect intersectionality, this paper focuses on the European context and examines how intersectionality can be incorporated into (in)equality measures and human rights indicators. Specifically this study has three main objectives. The main aim is to discuss ways in which rights indicators and assessments might be used to capture intersectionality by reviewing how indicators of horizontal inequalities and indicators inspired by intersectionality are used by different actors. Cases when the quantitative indicators and measurements work, and cases when they fail to work, are presented. Three cases analyzed more in detail are: (a) the capability approach applied to human rights in the experience of British institutions in measuring / monitoring inequality; (b) the policy framework and activities of European Union institutions in the fields of human and women's rights; (c) NGO frameworks as shown in their activities, projects, research and assessment operating in Europe in the field of human rights. A second aim is to discuss limits and potentialities of inequality measures and rights-based measurement approaches to intersectionality, and discuss their transformational potential. Finally, the paper provides suggestions for better operationalizing intersectionality within the frameworks of human rights and inequality, and puts forward some methodological recommendations for conducting intersectional studies.

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