by: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo
It wasn’t until I was older that I understood the power I had as a woman, and more specifically, the power found in being a black woman. The power I found happened through the words of those before me: Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, and Ntozake Shange, who all articulated a power I had yet to tap into.
Jay-Z said, “no two are alike like a snowflake.” The power that we hold as women is unique to each of us because of the multiple layers that make up our identities. These identities shape who we become and how we show up in the world. I realized, though, that the word “woman” means very different things depending on who is saying it. When the media or statistics report on “women,” they are most often referring to white women. It wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I realized that “women” didn’t always include me.
Yet, I never let that dictate who I was, and came to value the various layers that come with my own womanhood: African-American, daughter, sister, aunt, lover, and friend. I identify as so many things in my womanhood, and the intersection of those identities is what makes me who I am. The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw. As we fight to advance women of color in the workplace, it’s critical that we understand how intersectionality plays into our equality as women.
This year we hosted two panels on the topic of intersectionality, that you can watch at the links below. May we work to value the fullness of others so we can be better allies and be more mindful and inclusive in our language. Are we going to continue to be informed, uninformed, or unconcerned? It is our responsibility to hold each up and advance the culture!