Diversity & Inclusion

Be radical: take an intersectional approach to feedback

Lydia Watson

We all want an inclusive workplace. So when you run a survey and find that one historically disadvantaged group – like women – are scoring pretty high, that’s great news! 

But you can’t leave it at that. Because women, surprise surprise, aren’t one homogenous group. There are a number of overlapping identities – from ethnicity, disability status, and sexuality – which will impact their working lives too. So looking even closer, or taking an intersectional approach, is absolutely crucial.

What is intersectional feminism?

Looking for a ‘international feminism’ definition? Also known as intersectionality, all it means is understanding that we have overlapping identities – and how the layering of our race, class and gender affects how we experience the world, particular in terms of discrimination. 

The concept was made known by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor whose article explained how women of colour have to deal with discourses targeted at either identity, but not both. But this doesn’t just live in the world of feminist theories. Now, the term is more widely used – considering aspects like disability and age too. It’s a term worth familiarising yourself with, whether you’re concerned with social justice or not.

Why is intersectionality important? 

Why is identity politics and intersectionality something you should consider? It might seem theoretical, but the unique experiences of intersectional identity groups have far-reaching consequences. Like how women with disabilities are 2-4x more likely to experience domestic violence than women without disabilities, for example. 

That knowledge gives an important context to solving the problem. And when it comes to your workplace, that’s why an intersectional approach matters – because it gives you all the information you need to approach the challenge you’re facing.


Inclusion Guide

Intersectionality examples in the workplace

Considering different intersectionality groups can help you better understand your people. But if you’re still unsure why it’s relevant, here’s a few examples:

  • A lot of diversity initiatives focus on supporting women in the workplace – like giving them mentorship opportunities, or trying to offset unconscious biases. But these often don’t consider women of colour, disabled women, or women from a certain class
  • Although leaders might encourage benign open about your identity, this isn’t always easy when it comes to identifiers like sexual orientation – as employees might still fear being discriminated for this, especially if they belong to another disadvantaged group
  • The well-meaning attempt to welcome identities can lead to labelling, and prejudices about people who don’t neatly fit in one ‘box’ – and can mean only the disadvantaged

Use our platform & put intersectionality theory in practice

It’s important to consider the lived experiences of people with layered identities, especially those who belong to a number of disadvantaged groups. But how do you do it?

Our platform is designed to help you explore demographics with an intersectionality lens. This means you can use demographic data to compare the experience of white women compared to Black women, for example:

experience of white women compared to Black women

As you can see from our example data, you get a really clear view of the different experiences people have of their workplace. Here, Black women are generally seen to feel less included – see the ‘red’ and ‘orange’ on the data visualisation – with particular pain points when it comes to ‘trust & fairness’, ‘leadership’, and ‘success’ compared to the survey feedback from white women. The next step would be investigating why they scored lower in those dimensions, which you can do by looking into the written feedback.

Here’s another example, comparing cisgender heterosexual women with LGBTQ+ women’s experiences:

comparing cisgender heterosexual women with LGBTQ+ women’s experiences

The difference here is dramatic – with reds and oranges (indicating lower scores and sentiment) much more present for the feedback from LGBTQ+ women. Where straight women score low in some areas, women who identify as LGBTQ+ feel much less included in a number of areas.

If the results had just looked at women as one homogenous group, these problem areas may have been missed – meaning achieving inclusion becomes much harder. It all starts with measuring inclusion, but making sure to take an intersectional approach.

Try the platform for free, and build an inclusive culture

To learn more about how it works, why not try out our platform? It’s not just easy to see intersecting identities, and compare their survey responses – there are a lot of other benefits too including: 

  • 20+ surveys to choose from
  • Just 15 minutes to send
  • Research-led questions
  • Instant insights upon close
  • Manager-focused dashboards
  • Drag-and-drop reporting
  • Free to get started

Sign up today, and start measuring inclusion… the easy way:

Faster, simpler surveys – get started for free 

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