Beyond the Trinity of Gender, Race and Class

Exploring Intersectionality in Adult Learning


  • Cindy Hanson University of Regina
  • Amber Fletcher University of Regina



feminism, inequity, intersectionality, social justice, solidarity


Research exploring the gendered dimensions of adult learning has blossomed in the past two decades. Despite this trend, intersectional approaches in adult learning, research, and teaching remain limited primarily to the three categories of gender, race, and class. Intersectionality theory is more diverse than this and includes discussions of social structures, geographies, and histories that serve to build richer, more nuanced descriptions of how privilege and oppression are experienced. Because the purpose of intersectionality is to understand how social identities are constructed and to challenge the structures of power that oppress particular social groups, this approach is important for feminist and social justice educators. The Canadian authors of this manuscript posit that adult learning should move beyond intersectionality that focuses only on the trinity of gender + race + class in order to consider the nuances of inequality and the true complexities of representation and collective identities. By exploring literature in feminism, adult education, and intersectionality, they illustrate a gap at the core of adult education for social justice. Finally, they use two examples to illustrate how intersectionality works in practice.


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Author Biography

Amber Fletcher, University of Regina

Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Studies, University of Regina, Canada

Amber J. Fletcher’s research examines the social and gender dimensions of climate disaster in agricultural and Indigenous communities in the Prairie region of Canada. She is interested in how intersecting forms of inequality shape the experience of environmental crises. She is past-President of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW).




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How to Cite

Hanson, C., & Fletcher, A. (2021). Beyond the Trinity of Gender, Race and Class: Exploring Intersectionality in Adult Learning. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 12(2), 135–148.