Implementing gender-smart opportunities in tandem with diversity and inclusion efforts recognizes the unique value addition of the intersectional diversity dividend—leveraging the view points and contributions of a broader and more (socially, ethnically, generationally, experientially) representative workforce.
A gender lens can be particularly useful for including women who have been excluded from areas of the formal economy. However some women experience other intersecting forms of discrimination in addition to gender biases. To be more diverse and inclusive, companies can intentionally engage women (and men) who are members of historically marginalized1 groups, such as ethnic minorities or people living with a ‘dis’ability.2
Intersectional gender diversity may especially benefit companies. For example, in international social enterprises, strategies to increase the number of not only women, but indigenous women, on boards and in senior management can contribute to organizational sustainability in country, contextualized decision-making, and other strategic outcomes. Beyond counting women, diversity efforts consider how workplace dynamics are affected by other factors such as nationality, ethnicity, legal identifiers, and age. By bringing more voices to the table, workforce diversification can lead to qualitative improvements such as greater innovation, team cohesion, and employee satisfaction. While these may not prove financially material in the immediate, they are valuable organizational enhancements that are often considered proxies for business impacts to come.
Assess company performance on numerous aspects of diversity by using the supplmental Diversity Data Survey, found in Tab 2 of the offline versions of our Gender Scoring Tools.
1 ‘Historically marginalized’ indicates a person or member of a group that has been discriminated against in the past and/or is currently disadvantaged due to one or multiple factors. Affected groups will vary by context, and can include known or unknown identities. For example, historically marginalized people may be ethnic or religious minorities; refugees or war returnees; people living with terminal illness, physical or intellectual disabilities; very elderly or young people; people who have been homeless or formerly incarcerated; people who are gay or transgender; or individuals who experience multiple forms of social marginalization based on their intersecting identities.
2 ‘Dis’ability refers to a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term relates to individual functioning, e.g., physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.