Intersectionality and Multiple Identities: Revisiting the Concepts for 2024 through an ESG Len

As we look ahead to 2024 and the changing landscape of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) conversations, we note that intersectionality and multiple identities are still important concepts, however the understanding of how to apply and do justice to them has evolved somewhat.

In today’s climate, where investors, consumers and employees are looking to interact with likeminded businesses, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) frameworks provide a robust tool to promote responsible and inclusive business practices. They can bolster the organisations credentials as an employer of choice, as well as demonstrating to the market that responsible and sustainable values lie at the heart of the organisation.

That said, it is important to take a nuanced, bottom-up approach to ESG work. The tendency to roll out global strategies in a uniform manner can ultimately lead to failed practices in local markets. It is vital to apply an intersectional lens to proceedings to address the unique challenges and circumstances that individuals with multiple identities can face.

Empowering teams at the local level to take global frameworks and interpret them in a way that works for their specific market is essential. There is a need to understand the intersectionality and multiple identities at play within and among different markets in the Asia region. It struck at the core of organisation focused on strengthening the S (social) of their ESG interventions in a thoughtful and relevant way for Asia.

The key to a successful ESG framework – in fact to any DE&I intervention – is rigorous and honest monitoring and evaluation. It is especially important to amplify stakeholder voices and opinions in this process. Understanding the lived experience for employees with intersectional experiences and multiple identities can help to refine policies and give global directors a localised and personal perspective on how DE&I measures are impacting on and supporting their employees.

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