Intersectional Feminism and Behavior Analysis

  • Kaylee A. DeFelice
  • James W. DillerEmail author
Special Section: Diversity and Inclusion


This paper compares facets of behavior analysis and intersectional feminist theory. We begin by describing the history of issues related to gender and sexuality in behavior analysis. Then, we explain how the goals of feminism and applied behavior analysis are aligned, with a focus on intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism examines the influence of interacting variables (e.g., race, gender, and sexuality) that affect one’s experiences and behaviors, rather than focusing on a single factor, such as gender. Pragmatic behaviorism and intersectionality have many parallels, and by exploring them, researchers can generate more comprehensive explanations of behavior. With prevalent gender, race, and sexual orientation biases in contemporary society, it may be important for behavior analysts to be able to recognize these contingencies that have been previously overlooked. Describing the conceptual commonalities between these disciplines may be a stride towards inclusivity and advancement of the goals of each discipline.


Behavior analysis Behaviorism Gender  Intersectional feminism Sexuality 



The authors would like to thank Clare Mehta and Laura Diller for their feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest associated with the publication of this manuscript, and all appropriate ethical standards have been upheld.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceEastern Connecticut State UniversityWillimanticUSA

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