On this International Women’s Day, let’s pause for reflection on the changes of the past 12 months. The COVID19 pandemic has impacted heavily on women worldwide, accentuating pre- existing inequalities. In general, mainstream awareness of these deepening and unacceptable disparities remains very low. One of the barriers to awareness and change has been a tendency towards “otherism” in portrayal and perceptions of women who use drugs.

Intersectionality refers to the ways in which different aspects of a person’s identity can expose them to overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation. With its roots in the black feminist movement, awareness of intersectionality is very useful for understanding and addressing inequities experienced by women who use drugs. WHRIN work in this space can help to identify where this is affecting women who use drugs, bringing into focus the interrelation of systems of oppression. We can better identify specific needs and help ensure compassionate and effective policies and health options.