Cynthia Trililani is the sixth lecturer of the RIKK – Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference lecture series on intersectionality in spring 2024. Her lecture is titled „Empowerment and Agency at the Margins: Immigrant Women’s Pursuit of Higher Education” and will be held at 12–13 on Thursday 18 April, at the National Museum of Iceland.

In her lecture, Cynthia Trililani describes how the pursuit of education is economically, socially, and culturally situated, where women’s participation in education is encouraged or constrained by social and cultural contexts. Through the analytical framework of intersectionality, this lecture presents the analysis of life story interviews with immigrant women in Iceland, exploring the influential roles of intersecting differences such as gender, race, class, language, and immigrant status in shaping immigrant women’s pursuit of higher education. The findings suggest that immigrant women perceive their educational pursuits as a means of asserting agency against marginalisation and discrimination. Education is also seen as a transformative tool that empowers women and provides a path to a better future for themselves and their children. Shedding light on immigrant women’s intersectional identities and experiences in Iceland is crucial for understanding the diverse immigrant women population and challenges the prevailing stereotypes and biases towards immigrant women. This is pivotal in fostering a supportive and equitable environment that encourages and facilitates immigrant women’s active participation in Icelandic society.

Cynthia Trililani is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education and Diversity, University of Iceland. She holds a master’s degree in international studies in Education and a postgraduate diploma in Applied Gender Studies from the University of Iceland. Her PhD research focuses on the intersectional experiences of immigrant women pursuing higher education in Iceland. Her research interests extend to immigration, power relations and motherhood ideology.