Applying an intersectional lens to your employee community's strategy enables increased impact, engagement, leadership buy-in, representation, and solidarity. Explore our guide to learn more about the benefits of intersectional collaboration and how to implement it in your organization.
Employee communities are valuable spaces for innovation, networking, mentoring, and support. However, they can sometimes operate in silos, and the work can begin to feel duplicative, or even competitive. It’s critical that, as culture carriers, we remember that belonging is not a zero-sum game — when we find opportunities to work together, we win together.
Before we can talk about the power of intersectional collaboration, we must first define what it is. Intersectionality, first coined by law professor and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, refers to the ways in which different dimensions of our identities intersect with one another and produce unique experiences and perspectives. The term was first developed to articulate the ways that Black women experience sexism differently than white women, and racism differently than Black men. This can be applied to all combinations of identities, and is an invaluable tool for understanding why equity and inclusion work must be prioritized. We all contain multitudes, and our various identities can’t be divorced from on another — they all come together to make up who we are and how we understand the world.
To apply an intersectional lens to the work of inclusion, we can identify the overlapping identities within and across employee communities, and how those experiences are represented in the workplace. It is critical to acknowledge the nuance of our identities and the ways in which they influence our experiences and perspectives. However, it’s equally important that we come together across difference and build strong alliances between employee communities.
Put simply, intersectional collaboration can happen within one employee community — exploring the many facets and dimensions of subscribers' identities — or across multiple groups, so long as the framework of intersectionality is central to your strategy and approach.
Ask yourself, how can you foster intersectional collaboration at your organization? If you're part of an employee community: how can you be conscious of the various identities represented within your community? Where do you see opportunities to intentionally partner with other communities?
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