Multidimensional understanding of diversity

If a specific instance of discrimination can be attributed to several grounds, it can be considered multiple discrimination. The grounds for discrimination can be interwoven and so find different expression. Taking an intersectional approach to discrimination means looking at the overlapping of the different grounds for discrimination. Their interaction precludes their examination separately. This means that different forms of discrimination, such as racism and ableism, are also related and need to be viewed in their relations to each other.

Examples of the intersectional interlocking of different forms of discrimination:

  • Discrimination against a Muslimah wearing a hijab: specific interwoven form of discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion and ethnicity.
  • Discrimination against gay parents: specific interwoven form of discrimination on the grounds of marital and family status and sexual orientation.

The Four Layers of Diversity (Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe 1995)

Graphic of a wheel with 4 circles. From inside to outside: Personality, Inner Dimension, Outer Dimension and Organisational Dimension. Each circle is again divided into several sections. Inner dimension such as age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical abilities, national origin/ marriage, social origin; outer dimension such as place of residence, income, habits, leisure behaviour, religion and world view, education, work experience, appearance, parenthood, marital status; organisational dimension such as function/ classification, work content/ field of work; department/ division, duration of employment/ study, work/ study location, research content/ field of research, type of employment.