We need more leaders who reflect the people they lead.
What is Intersectional Leadership?
Intersectionality was defined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Since then, other scholars have applied this concept to their research.
Intersectional leadership has evolved from a definition to a burgeoning framework, developed by Dr. Angel Nash, an Assistant Professor at Chapman University, and her colleagues. The four tenets outline the principles of intersectional leadership. They are as follows:
- Is explicitly anti-racist;
- Is explicitly anti-sexist;
- Explicitly acknowledges the multiplicative influences of marginalization centering race and gender, and across planes of identity; and
- Explicitly leverages authority to serve and protect historically underserved communities.
Nash, whose research centers on Black girls and women in academia, has advocated for the adoption of these principles by leaders in K-12 and higher education so everyone feels like they belong in educational spaces.
Why Intersectional Leadership
When it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives, intersectionality and leadership go hand in hand, but the relationship is often overlooked, which can prevent organizations from truly achieving their goals. True inclusion requires intersectionality, a concept that many business leaders are only now learning about. Diversity can be achieved through fair hiring practices and internal mobility, but true inclusion requires intersectionality, a concept that many business leaders are only now learning about.
In order to consider intersectionality, leaders must look beyond the numbers and statistics and focus on the actual human experience of their employees. Leaders can learn how oppressions are interconnected and see that these issues cannot be solved in silos by taking the time to understand the experiences of employees from various social groups. The diversity pivot is refocusing on developing an understanding of the role of intersectionality, which allows leaders to provide genuine support to employees from all walks of life.
Intersectional Leadership at Work
Researchers, such as Dr. Corin Ramos, have furthered our understanding of intersectional leadership in the workplace.
In an interview with Catalyst, Ramos says, “A lot of times, people think of intersectionality as only gender and race to intersect. They forget about things like sexuality, ability, age, immigration status—all these different identities that can interplay and are subject to systems of power that privilege certain people over others. Leaders should work to dismantle these oppressive systems of power.”
Being inclusive and intersectional at work is important to creating a space where everyone feels welcome. Oftentimes, culture change comes from the top. Ramos suggests, “Leaders must foster a sense of psychological safety so that their employees feel supported and okay to take risks without penalty or fear of repercussions. Employees should have that open space to suggest new ideas or even discuss difficult topics.”
Can Investing be Intersectional?
Choosing an investment strategy that supports your values can be difficult. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Look for an investment firm such as Invested interests that specialized in impact investing or SRI
- Research companies that align with your values
- Explore socially responsible portfolios that fit with your values
If you’re specifically thinking about intersectionality in your investments, as yourself some of the questions Professor Nash provides in her framework:
- Is the investment firm or company you want to invest in explicitly anti-racist?
- Is the investment firm or company you want to invest in explicitly anti-sexist?
- Does the investment firm or company you want to invest in explicitly acknowledge the multiplicative influences of marginalization centering on race and gender?
- Does the investment firm or company you want to invest in explicitly leverage authority to serve and protect historically underserved communities?
And, if you’re looking to take the next step in your ethical investing journey, reach out to our team to learn more about how your investments can support your values at: https://investedinterests.com/contact-us/