Episode Overview

In our second episode, Amber discusses intersectionality with guest Dr. Mildred Boveda, assistant professor of special education and cultural and linguistic diversity at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.
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Topics Covered

Meet Dr. Mildred Boveda, designer of the intersectional competence measure.  Designer of the “Intersectional Competence Measure,” Dr. Mildred Boveda shares her experiences as an Afro-Latina wife and mother of two who navigated from poverty to Harvard. She designed the “intersectional competence measure, a tool used to connect teachers with a growing diverse student population.

Diversity and inclusion gaps. Feeling as though the standard diversity and inclusion conversations were missing an important component, Mildred wanted a more comprehensive approach to understanding how social categories intersect. She began studying intersectionality — the interconnected nature in which social categories such as race, class, and gender, overlap and then create interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

From theory to practice, The Intersectional Competence Measure: To help create connections between teachers and students, Mildred created the intersectional competence measure tool. The tool has three steps:

  • Recognition — acknowledging where people differ and how those differences impact their experiences/perspectives.
  • Collaboration — identifying ways to fill the diversity gaps through collaboration (i.e., “Who can I work with to meet this person’s needs?”).
  • Reflection — evaluating your own personal beliefs to see how they influence your views and perspectives.

Seeing people’s differences. As humans, we’ve been trained to group people together. We focus on gender, race, marital status, tax bracket, etc. and this need to categorize causes us to overlook what makes us special. Historically, black women have used their voice and experience to expose the gaps in understanding created by not acknowledging the many dimensions of people’s (particularly women’s) true identities.   Sojourner Truth brought this disparity to our attention in her famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech. Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw identified the gap when she coined the term “intersectionality” over 20 years ago. Dr. Patricia Hill Collins reiterated the concept when she shared it during a lecture that Mildred attended. And now Mildred is helping teachers do more for their students by seeing their intersecting identities. Intersectionality is looking beyond gender to see women for who we really are: different.

Dr. Mildred Boveda

Mildred Boveda is an assistant professor of special education and cultural and linguistic diversity at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. In her scholarship, she uses the term “intersectional competence” to describe teachers’ understanding of diversity, particularly as it pertains to how students, families, and colleagues have multiple socio-cultural markers that intersect in complex and nuanced ways. She designed the Intersectional Competence Measure to assess teachers’ preparedness for an increasingly diverse student population.

Learn more and follow Mildred on Twitter @MildredBoveda.


Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw: Columbia University law professor who coined the term Intersectionality over 20 years ago.

Patricia Hill Collins: Social theorist whose research and scholarship have examined issues of race, gender, social class, sexuality and/or nation.

Sojourner Truth: “Ain’t I A Woman” speech


Produced by: Kai-Saun Anderson

Music by: Podington Bear

About the host

Amber Anderson

Co-Founder + Head of Strategy
Amber Anderson is the co-founder of T+P where she specializes in strategy, marketing and product management.

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