Diversity and Inclusion Agendas Must Include Black Disabled Women

I have regular conversations with managers and employees who are looking to improve diversity and inclusion in their workplace. The majority of the time I find myself being the person who initiates the discussions of intersectionality into the conversations. This is then followed by my own lived experiences as a Black disabled woman, how I became the founder and director of The Intersectionality Network and how this led to the becoming as a freelance consultant in the area of diversity and inclusion.

As a growing society, there can be no more practices of exploring barriers to employment and education on a watered-down approach. One key way in moving forward with impactful changes in mind is to acknowledge the true challenges of discrimination relating to identities and how multiple identities intersect simultaneously. I have 16 years of experience in the disability sector and 10 years in the area of intersectionality. I can only describe that discussions around diversity and inclusion have resided in listening to ‘comfortable’ discussions.

For real change to take place, it is required for the ones who are privileged, working in positions across companies, organisations and in higher education institutions, to validate ‘their’ allyship role in assisting, by decentring themselves and stepping aside to allow the platform of narratives to be heard and action goals to be implemented by Black disabled women who are at the heart of the discussions.

As strongly advocated by Audre Lorde:

‘There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives’.

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