An Intersectional Exploration: The Experiences of Southern, Rural, Black and White Women Participating in an Empowerment-Based Entrepreneurial Program

Adele Natasha Norris, Yvette Murphy-Erby, Amber Green, Kara Willis, Tanita Jones

Abstract


Intersectionality is gaining ground as a desired way of deepening our understanding of persisting inequalities engendered by poverty. Combining an intersectional framework and the idea of strategic gender needs developed by Moser (1993), this study explores the experiences and perceptions of empowerment among rural black and white women in the southern U.S. and highlights the significance of intersectionality in exploring such issues. The findings reveal a diversity of experiences and perceptions of empowerment within the broader construction of womanhood. This paper raises the question about the shared identity of womanhood in rural southern communities. Such an understanding compels us to look closer at how oppressive ideologies become embedded within institutional structures and constrain our understanding of rural poverty. Additionally, this understanding calls us to investigate the capacity of anti-poverty and asset development efforts to work for different groups of women. Efforts such as these hold major implications for the social work profession and others who are challenged to understand and adequately address poverty in rural communities.

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