Charity Digital – Topics – How to make your inclusion intersectional

Intersectionality describes the way oppressive systems intersect. In other words, people don’t experience just one form of oppression at a time.

Legal theorist and civil rights activist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined the term in 1989 and first used it to explain the unique experiences of African American women experiencing both racism and sexism. It is now more commonly used to talk about other intersecting identities such as class, orientation, migration status, disability or nationality.

As Crenshaw says: “Intersectionality is a lens through which to see where power comes from and collides, where it interlocks and crosses. It’s not just that there’s a race issue here, a gender issue here, and a class or LBGTQ issue there.”

Why we need intersectionality

As Crenshaw’s research shows, Black women do not experience racism separately from sexism. You experience the intersection of both, sometimes referred to as misogynoir. Programs that aim to support women often end up reaching only a small proportion of women. Studies in the United States have shown that White women benefit more from affirmative action politics than any other group.

Unless we adopt an intersectional view, it is likely that our efforts to combat ableism, classism, sexism, heterosexism (homophobia), and other -isms will end up serving the most privileged and neglecting the most marginalized. Inclusion must be intersectionalor it is not inclusion.

Let’s explore some practical steps you can take to embed an intersectional approach to inclusion.

Make intersectionality the norm

Send a signal to your employees that intersectional inclusion is a core element of your charity culture. It’s not an add-on or nice-to-have and applies to everyone – inclusive the board of trustees.

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Whether you build one digital strategyor rethink Hiring, firing and recruitment of trusteesensure that SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) related to diversity, equity and inclusion are built into everything you do.

Develop robust policies

Review existing policies and rewrite them if necessary. Whether you are designing eligibility policies or grievance procedures, refuse to treat forms of discrimination as separate. Ask yourself: Can this policy address the particular, compounded forms of discrimination experienced by a working-class black trans woman or gay Muslim man?

Create regular opportunities to review and revise your policies, and adjust them based on insights from internal and external inclusion reviews.

Train employees in intersectionality

Invest in quality professional oppression training and ensure they have an intersectional perspective. If you don’t have a budget for training, try setting up a reading group or action learning sets to increase everyone’s knowledge.

Don’t rely on marginalized people to educate the rest of the team. Instead, encourage more privileged team members to inform and win over the others.

Audit existing systems

Block out time to look at your systems and processes. Data is essential to figuring out who you’re serving and who you might be excluding.

You can ask questions like: Who is getting promoted in our charity and who is stuck in junior roles? Who focuses on freelance, precarious or low-paying jobs and who enjoys the most job security? How have issues like race and gender pay gap changed over time?

Consider your funding sources

If you’re trying to address racism, classism, and other overlapping issues within your charity, you’ll likely start by looking at internal policies, such as: B. How to hire, fire, train and retain employees. But don’t forget to also look at deeper structures like funding.

For example, are you supported by foundations with a historical connection to slavery, or by corporations with a business model that exploits marginalized people? Think about your next steps, and if the issue is historic, consider how you will address and communicate about it.

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Check your communication

Do not allow fundraising materials to perpetuate harmful ideas about marginalized communities, even when they do raises much-needed funds.

Review your fundraising communications, immediately remove any inaccurate or disrespectful depictions, and plan to replace them with accurate, inclusive storytelling content as soon as possible. Check out our guide on how to do this Increase your fundraising with storytelling.

build up trust

Even well-intentioned policies often end up perpetuating racism and other -isms. Your team needs to feel safe speaking up and pointing out discrimination when it occurs. Try some of these Practical tips for building psychological security in your team.

Learn outdoors

Make a public commitment to address intersectionality in your charity and report on your progress. Think how Welcome spoke about their work to become an anti-racist funder. They shared that a recent assessment “has determined that Wellcome is still an institutionally racist organization and that we have yet to act with the urgency needed.”

You cannot move beyond tokenism unless you are willing to be honest and open about your journey, including the failures. If possible, have a professional appraiser take a close look at you. If that’s not feasible, be as open as possible about what you’re trying to address. Don’t just name the issues and say they need to be addressed by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) staff.

Really commit to creating a culture of shared ownership of DEI goals so all your employees feel like they have some power to drive action and hold others accountable.

Set up DEI work for success

Working in diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion is highly skilled and challenging work. For people with lived experiences of oppression, it can be incredibly traumatic.

You cannot expect marginalized people to do DEI work for you for free in addition to their work. It’s exhausting and not sustainable.

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So make sure that the DEI work is adequately resourced. Do not delegate all DEI work to a single employee with DEI in their job title. And while it sounds good to say “we hired a DEI employee who reports to the CEO,” you need to go further.

Make sure DEI staff have sensible support out Senior leadership, including sponsorship, visibility, status and resources appropriate to the scope of the challenge.

track progress

Whether you’re tracking pay differentials or changes in hiring and firing, it’s important to collect high-quality, disaggregated data. Make sure your data can be segregated by multiple variables such as disability status, race, orientation, and gender. You don’t need fancy technology for this; You can use common survey software.

Work closely with your team to develop survey options so they don’t have to choose between boxes that oversimplify or misrepresent who they are. Of course, many employees still won’t feel safe about revealing their identities, so you always have the “prefer not to say” option.

Design inclusive work practices

Working from home can be an asset to inclusion. For example if it helps colored women Dealing with their disproportionate care responsibilities or gender non-conforming people to explore their identity.

But remote and hybrid work mean some people are less visible. Create including hybrid work systemsyou need to ensure that people working outside the office are not forgotten when being transported.

Check out our suggestions Tools to help you make remote and hybrid work more inclusiveincluding the use of collaboration tools such as Google for nonprofit organizations, Miro interactive whiteboards or instant messaging platforms Relaxedto bring your team together.

Are you still struggling to describe to your team what “intersectional inclusion” means? Try to explain it this way: It’s about designing your systems to work for the most marginalized. Because when we design with the most marginalized in mind, our workplaces can work for everyone.

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