Welcome to NF Glossary! We recognize that practicing intersectional feminism means embracing a whole new vocabulary – something that isn’t as easily accessible to everyone. We’ve created this glossary of common terms and definitions to help you along the way. 

This list of terms is not exhaustive, nor will it likely ever be. As we continue to do the work and expand our own vocabulary, we will continue to add to the glossary. Our hope is that it can be a resource that you can turn to whenever you stumble upon a word on our website that you do not know, and that it can even be a resource you’ll turn to in other situations in your life. 

By virtue of their nature, all definitions related to identity are somewhat fluid. We want to acknowledge that not all definitions will ring true for everyone. We will do our best to continue updating them as the context, both social and personal changes, and we welcome feedback wherever you have it. 

Trigger warning: The definitions in this glossary contain mentions of blood, sexual assault, racism, ableism, sexism, violence against women and non-binary people, body image and appearance.

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Discrimination against disabled people/people with disabilities. An ableist individual or organisation considers non-disabled people as the standard and does not create a society where accessibility is a mandatory minimum requirement. Ableism can affect people with both visible and/or invisible disabilities, whether mental or physical.


The practice of actively combating pervasive racial prejudice and discrimination in order to promote racial justice and equality.



Referring to a person whose gender and personal identity corresponds with their sex label assigned to them at birth.


Differential treatment based on skin color, especially favoritism toward those with a lighter skin tone and mistreatment or exclusion of those with a darker skin tone. Colorism also includes preference for physical characteristics fitting Eurocentric beauty standards, including hair type, facial structure and more.

Conscious bias

A preference for or an aversion to a person or group of people. Biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and can have negative or positive consequences.


Dignity Kit

Dignity Kits are packages containing about a month’s worth of menstrual products and other basic toiletries. They are packed by Neighborhood Feminists’ volunteers and distributed to members of marginalized communities in Amsterdam.

Domestic violence

Acts of violence or abuse against a person living in the same household, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.



The state of being equal, especially in status, rights or opportunities.


The quality of being fair, just, and impartial. Equity recognizes differences in circumstance and privilege and aims for justice and fairness while taking those into account.

Equality vs. equity

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.



The killing of a woman or a girl because of their gender, in particular when perpetrated by men.


An advocate for equal social, political, legal, and economic rights for people of all genders. Feminism is rooted in the acknowledgment of patriarchal power structures.



Gender is a person’s experienced identity, falling anywhere on the binary spectrum of female or male, or beyond that binary. A person’s gender is made up of both their internalized gender identity and external gender expression, in the understanding that those two can be the same but can also differ. Gender is a social construct in that unlike sex, it is a product of society and culture.

Gender-based pay gap

The difference in average gross hourly earnings between individuals of different genders.

Gender expression

An individual’s external appearance and expression of their own gender identity. This may or may not conform to socially defined characteristics traditionally associated with being either masculine or feminine.

Gender identity

An individual’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither. A person’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. Your sex label assigned at birth does not inform your gender identity; your gender identity is how you perceive yourself and what you call yourself.

Gender-affirming care

The ensemble of a health care system’s policies, practices, and processes through which care providers actively support individuals by recognizing and acknowledging their gender identity.


Intersectional / Intersectionality

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to an individual or group. An intersection of someone’s identity can result in overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The term was first coined by feminist civil-rights scholar and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.


An umbrella term that refers to anyone born with variations in their physical sex characteristics which don’t neatly fit into the binary sex categories of male and female. Intersex people can have variations in any number of their sex characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive anatomy and external genitalia.


Menstruation (also: Period)

The process in the body of discharging blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus at intervals of approximately one lunar month typically occuring from puberty until the menopause. Important consideration: Not all who menstruate are women and not all women menstruate.


A subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a member of a marginalized group, particularly a person of a different race, that is often unintentionally offensive or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype.


An individual who moves from one place to another, in order to find work or better living conditions. Also a person who attempts to permanently relocate to a new country, but who may be subject to removal by the government of that country.


The specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward Black women and femmes.


TW: Sexual harassment, assault and abuse. Hatred, dislike of, or contempt for women and perceived femininity. This ingrained and institutionalised prejudice manifests itself in various forms including but not limited to: physical intimidation and abuse, sexual harassment and assault and social shunning.



A person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While non-binary does fall under the transgender umbrella, not all non-binary people identify as transgender. Non-binary identities include but are not limited to: agender/gender neutral, bigender, gender fluid, and genderqueer.



The oppressive system in society or government where power is held by cisgender men. The patriarchy is sustained through cultural norms and customs that favor cisgender men and withhold opportunities from other people.

Period poverty

A lack of continued, structural access to menstrual products, education, bathroom facilities, waste management, or a combination of these. Period poverty can affect anyone who menstruates and is caused by the compounding oppressions of poverty, social and gender inequality, and menstrual health taboo.

Period (also: Menstruation)

The process in the body of discharging blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus at intervals of approximately one lunar month typically occuring from puberty until the menopause. Important consideration: Not all who menstruate are women and not all women menstruate.


Racial profiling

The use of race or perceived ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed an offence.


An individual action or behaviour based upon or upholding a belief that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others. Racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race and therefore inherently serves at the benefit of white people.


An individual who has been forced to leave their country in order to find refuge or safety, often to escape war, persecution or a natural disaster.



A female, intersex, or male label assigned to a person at birth with reference to that person’s reproductive organs. Sex does not define a person’s gender.

Sexual orientation

A person’s inherent attraction, whether romantic and/or sexual in nature, to a person in relation to that person’s gender. A person’s sexual orientation can be characterized by attraction to a certain gender, genders, or an absence of gender preference. A person’s sexual orientation does not need to be fixed.


A descriptor for policies, practices, or sets of beliefs that have been established and accepted by the majority as being customary practices throughout a political, social, or economic system.

Systemic oppression

Structurally burdening or placing cruel or unjust barriers on an individual or larger group. This is enacted by those in positions of authority or power, but also extends to all areas of society – in other words, anyone in a position of privilege is capable of contributing to another person or group’s oppression in a systematic manner.



Referring to a person whose gender and personal identity does not correspond with their sex label assigned to them at birth.


Unconscious bias

Social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from human tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing. They are learned through the social environment, particularly at a young age at home or in school.

Undocumented person

An individual who has moved to a new location but has not yet acquired immigration or working papers. Life without documentation presents challenges at all levels of society such as finding work, access to healthcare, securing housing and much more.