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Recruitment scams are not always obvious. Here are a few tips on how to identify a fraudulent message:

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For your safety, we strongly advise:

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  • Report the scam message to your local authorities or the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) through their official website for further investigation.

At Diversifying Group, we might contact you by text message, however:

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Stay alert and safeguard yourself against fraudulent activity. If you have any doubts or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly using the contact details below:

29 May 2024

Embracing Intersectionality in Business

"As a woman of mixed heritage and low-opportunity background, I don’t see myself in them or their stories."

Intersectionality is a powerful lens through which to understand and addresses systemic bias in the workplace. It’s something we talk about constantly. Thanks to the wonderful diversity of our team, we have a wide range of perspectives to consider.

But what exactly is intersectionality?

The term has its roots in Black feminist activism and was originally coined by critical legal race scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989. She defines intersectionality as “a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking.” Intersectionality recognises that individuals possess multiple intersecting identities, encompassing aspects such as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, disability status, and cultural upbringing. When we delve deeper into intersectionality, we can uncover insights that have the potential to reshape how we approach D&I at work.

But when we talk about D&I, it's more than just ticking two boxes for gender and ethnicity. It's about understanding how various aspects of someone's identity intersect and shape their experiences at work. Instead of solely focusing on the visible markers of diversity, consider how intersecting identities shape employees' experiences and opportunities within the workplace.

For instance, an employee who identifies as a Black woman may face intersectional barriers when it comes to accessing opportunities for advancement. Despite her qualifications and skills, she might encounter implicit biases and stereotypes that limit her visibility for promotions or leadership roles. This intersection of ethnicity and gender creates additional challenges compared to her white or male counterparts, who often have greater access to networks and mentorship opportunities.

An LGBTQIA+ employee with a disability may experience intersecting forms of discrimination that affect their sense of belonging in the workplace. They may encounter microaggressions related to both their sexual orientation and disability status, leading to feelings of isolation or exclusion. As Jo, our Lead Trainer, poignantly notes:

“When we talk about LGBTQIA+ issues, including discrimination and harassment, we rarely touch on the intersections between sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability, which makes a lot of these conversations irrelevant to my experiences. Disabled LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to be a target of harassment and discrimination, particularly those of us who are assigned female at birth. If we add in bisexuality to the mix, these rates increase further - even more so for those of us who are trans, and that’s without factoring in identities such as race, age, and religion. Spaces for LGBTQIA+ people are still pushed into the margins and, unfortunately, those margins are hardly ever accessible. This means that I am not only physically distanced from my community, but also emotionally distanced - how am I supposed to engage with support structures and spaces for joy when I can’t get in the door? This extends to workplaces, too, where access needs are so often forgotten about or seen as optional rather than the very bare minimum required for not only inclusion, but legal compliance.”

Unfortunately, these scenarios are endless, as there are numerous configurations of intersecting identities that could potentially lead to disadvantages and discrimination in the workplace.

Yani, our Diversity & Inclusion Consultant, offers a powerful example:

"I see events around women empowering women in various sectors, with panels of women telling stories of their experiences. But often they miss a spot. The panel looks the same and has similar stories. As a woman of mixed heritage and low-opportunity background, I don’t see myself in them or their stories. I leave those panels feeling more isolated and confused than empowered. I am a woman, but we face different barriers."

So, how do we level the playing field? Implement initiatives like mentorship programs tailored to individuals' diverse backgrounds. Pairing employees from underrepresented backgrounds with mentors who have navigated similar challenges can provide invaluable guidance along the path to success. Invest in training and development. This may involve offering workshops on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and allyship, as well as providing opportunities for employees to enhance their skills and advance their careers. Adopt diverse recruitment and hiring practices. This includes actively sourcing candidates from diverse talent pools, ensuring diverse representation on hiring panels to promote fairness and equity in the selection process, and adopting an equal pay policy.


Now, let's discuss privilege. We all have a mix of advantages and disadvantages based on our identities. But privilege isn't one-size-fits-all. While someone might benefit from their gender or sexual orientation, they could still be grappling with barriers due to their ethnicity, or disability status.

It's important to acknowledge that the term "privilege" has faced some backlash. Some may feel uncomfortable confronting their own privilege or feel that it oversimplifies complex issues. However, at the end of the day, privilege is real, and we can't ignore it. It's not about pointing fingers or assigning blame; it's about recognising the systemic advantages some individuals have and using our collective power to level the playing field for everyone. That's why it's important for business leaders to do some introspection. By acknowledging their own privileges and using their platform to advocate for those facing barriers, they can help create a workplace culture rooted in empathy and understanding.

We also need to break free from siloed approaches. When employees from diverse backgrounds come together to share their perspectives, decision-making becomes more inclusive, and barriers start to crumble.

What can you do?

At Diversifying Group, we’ve moved away from siloed approaches to D&I initiatives and training. Instead, we’ve created opportunities for employees to engage in intersectional dialogue and learning. We have regular in-house training sessions on various topics with an intersectional lens, as well as weekly Lunch & Learn sessions, where our team members are encouraged to share their lived (and often intersectional) experiences with others as an opportunity for learning and acceptance. We promote cross-functional collaboration and diverse perspectives in decision-making, ensuring D&I initiatives are co-created with input from diverse team members, fostering ownership and inclusion among all employees. One of the most important parts of our inclusive culture is that we openly value the contributions of all employees equally, regardless of their intersecting identities.

To truly embrace intersectionality in D&I efforts, businesses must commit to adopting holistic approaches that address the complex realities of employees' intersecting identities. It's about implementing tailored initiatives, creating inclusive leadership practices, and ensuring everyone's voice is heard.


Written by Oliver Gilbody, with contributions from Jo Gower and Yani King

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