Why your biases may be biased: intersectionality explained

Written by Sheree Atcheson Tuesday 06 September 2022
If you dig into your data, your efforts to tackle bias might not be as successful as you think. That’s why leaders need to understand the complex intersections between race, gender, age, disability and social background
A silhouette of a head made by intersecting threads

This is an extract from Demanding More, longlisted for CMI’s 2022 Management Book of the Year award

Intersectionality is the overlapping and connected nature of personal characteristics, such as ethnicity, race, socio-economic background, etc. This connected nature creates an overlapped and connected experience of discrimination. 

For example, a Black woman might face discrimination from a business that is not distinctly due to her race (because the business does not discriminate against Black men) nor distinctly due to her gender (because the business does not discriminate against White women), but due to a unique combination of the two factors. 

Gender diversity has been in almost every company’s board meetings in the 2010s because of mandatory gender pay gap reporting and the historic understanding of women’s rights in relation to voting and body autonomy from society in general. What this hasn’t considered is that women are not a monolith and existing under all of the same constraints – what are glass ceilings for some are cement roofs for others. 

Keep reading to learn the importance of intersectionality for your diversity data


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