International Women’s Day is a global campaign fighting for equality for women. But who are these women? The response is by no means a one shoe fits all answer.
Intersectionality is the complex and cumulative way that different forms of discrimination combine and overlap. For example, the discrimination a white, middle class, heterosexual woman experiences may not be the same for women of different races, socioeconomic statuses or ableisms.
It’s hard to talk about women and equality, or in fact any social or political issue, without addressing intersectionality. Traditional approaches to gender rights have long been criticised for excluding the voices of diverse women; a critique that dates back to one of the most famous abolitionist writings in U.S. history, when Sojourner Truth stingingly asked the question, “Ain’t I a woman?”
Issues such as access to education and pay and health disparities are just some examples of the continuing differences between women. Indeed, the pay gap between white women and women of colour is the fastest-growing wage gap, which simply can’t be ignored if we’re to continue to fight for equality.
Moving forward, this absence of perspective has been challenged, and International Women’s Day offers a space to do so.
How can we host an Intersectional International Women’s Day?
Acknowledge and learn from your mistakes
When talking about social issues, all types of emotions may arise within your workforce. As long as we are continually trying to learn and educate ourselves, progress is being made.
Look for other perspectives
International Women’s Day brings many issues to the forefront on all levels. Social media, blogs, news channels, chat in the staff room, the list goes on. Find those that are different to your own experiences and learn from them.
Set up a support group
Bringing together women of all races, backgrounds, beliefs and abelisms within your workplace will allow their voices to be heard.
Update your ED&I training
Tell Jane can deliver an International Women’s Day workshop for your workplace, specifically focussing on aspects of intersectionality. Our experienced ED&I trainers will offer tips for recognising women in your organisation and beyond, and how to listen and learn from alternate points of view. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.