Intersectionality … what does that mean?

Intersectionality is a big word we’re hearing around the diverse community these days. Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in her 1989 thesis “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” to demonstrate that “[b]ecause the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism, any analysis that does not take intersectionality into account cannot sufficiently address the particular manner in which Black women are subordinated.” Over time, dictionaries have defined intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” In our supplier diversity and certification world, the term is often used to describe diverse suppliers who hold multiple certifications.

Our company holds four major certifications being certified by our state’s UCP as a DBE, the SBA as an SBE and a WOSB, WBENC as a WBE and Disability:IN as a DOBE. One of our clients is a minority veteran owned company holding VA, NVBDC, NMSDC and several state DBE certifications. Another is a service-disabled veteran certified by the VA, NaVOBA, and registered as an SBA Small Business Enterprise. Our customers, based on their rules, can choose how to count the dollars they spend with us. If they’re short in disability spending, our DOBE certificate makes us eligible to be counted in this category. Maybe they really need WBEs, well we’ve got that, too. The point is that having multiple ways to add value for our clients through a variety of certificates affords us the opportunity to open more doors through our marketing.

If you and your business legitimately qualify for multiple types of certification, both you and your customers may find that to be mutually beneficial.