Seeing and overcoming the complexities of intersectionality

Cate Thomas, Colleen MacMillan, Merryn McKinnon, Hayley Torabi, Megan Osmond-McLeod, Ellen Swavley, Tamzen Armer, Kim Doyle

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1) Background: Intersectionality contests that individuals have multiple characteristics in their identity that cannot be siloed or deemed exclusive to each other. Understanding and utilising an intersectional lens in organisations can increase inclusion of individuals and organisational performance. An educational package known as the Intersectionality Walk (IW) was developed by the authors, piloted, and evaluated in order to break down the commonly held descriptors of diversity silos that fragments inclusion, and to understand how various identity characteristics compound disadvantage. The paper outlines the need to transition from siloed views of diversity to a more intrinsic view of identity to achieve inclusivity.
2) Methods: The IW was developed and trialled with a series of work-based scenarios and realistic multifaceted personas. Data collection occurred pre- and post- IW utilising a mixed methods approach. Responses to Likert scale surveys and open-ended questions were captured and analysed via inductive and ground theory perspectives.
3) Results: An improved awareness and understanding of individual knowledge, reflectivity and positionality relating to intersectionality and intersectional approaches was reported on completion of the IW. Further, responses reported how and why organisations can approach and improve inclusivity via using intersectional approaches.
4) Conclusions: The IW as an educational package has a positive impact and is a key linkage for all employers to build an inclusive culture and to harness the talent of all employees. Further research will occur to measure the implemented change in organisations following the IW.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 05 Feb 2021


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