Embracing Intersectionality: Stepping Forward with Purpose- Part 1

Dr.Sanja Rickette Stinson
June 27, 2024
3 min read
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Women often find themselves at the crossroads of various identities and experiences. Each of these intersections shapes who we are, guiding our journey and influencing our purpose. Today, more than ever, I see women ready to embrace their multifaceted selves, stepping forward with confidence and intention. This blog is dedicated to women ready to explore the intersectionality of their purpose and embark on their journey to stepping forward.

What is meant by intersectionality? Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality describes how different aspects of a person's identity—such as race, gender, sexuality, and class—intersect to create unique experiences. For women, understanding intersectionality means recognizing that our path is influenced by more than just our gender. It involves acknowledging that the layers of our identity that shape our perspectives, challenges, and strengths.

One of the first steps to embracing a woman's intersectionality is recognizing her multifaceted nature, which is a key to discovering her true purpose. This begins with self-reflection on the various aspects of your identity. Consider your background, experiences, and how your purpose, passion, and vision intersect. Ask yourself questions like, "What makes me unique?" and "What unique perspective do I bring to the table?"

As women, we must recognize that every aspect of our identity contributes to our strengths and resilience. This includes our personal experiences, professional skills, and cultural heritage. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in shaping our purpose.

On a personal note and as a nonprofit founder and entrepreneur, I have dedicated my life to empowering women to embrace intersectionality and recognize the unique strengths they bring to each table they sit at. With over three decades of experience in both profit and nonprofit sectors, I strive to create opportunities for women to discover their purpose and step forward with confidence. Through my work, I aim to inspire and support women in harnessing their multifaceted identities to make a meaningful impact in the world.

Another crucial step for women in embracing their intersectionality and stepping forward with purpose is to identify their passions—plural. This is because our purpose often arises from multiple interests and drives, reflecting the diverse.  aspects of our identities. By acknowledging and pursuing these varied passions, women can create a more holistic and fulfilling sense of purpose. Reflect on what drives you, what excites you, what issues you care about, and where you want to make a difference. Then set inclusive goals for your journey ahead, considering the broader implications of your actions. When you align your goals with your values, it creates a purpose that deeply resonates with who you are.

Also, collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.  Collaboration is currency! This require women to seek support and community. Surround yourself with a supportive community that understand and values your multifaceted identity.  Connect with like-minded women who share similar experiences who aren’t afraid to provide encouragement, inspiration and valuable insight as you navigate your journey.

Finally, stepping forward requires a willingness to grow and adapt. Be open to learning from your experiences and adjusting your path as needed. Throughout my journey, I’ve embraced being a lifelong learner. Women should practice mindfulness and avoid a fixed mindset, continually striving to cultivate a growth mindset.

Stepping forward with purpose as a woman means embracing the intersectionality of our identities and leveraging our unique strength to create meaningful change. When we as women, take time to reflect on our multifaceted selves, identifying our passion, and able to set inclusive goals, that when the journey begins allowing us to better navigate with confidence and intention.

In the words of Audre Lorde, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very difference from my own”. Let us celebrate the diversity within ourselves and support each other as we step forward in a future where our purpose shines brightly.

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