EEON Events and Webinars

The Equal Employment Opportunity Network hosts up to six events each year. Each forum is designed and chosen for its potential to develop the skills and knowledge of our members and to spark discussion. Members and guests alike are welcome at all events. Attendance is free for members, who get first access to each forum. Please visit our membership page to become a part of the EEON community. We also welcome guests, so If you are not a member of EEON but would like to attend a specific event, please contact us. You can stay up to date with all our events by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or by joining our mailing list, which is open to members and non-members alike.
EEON Event Banner July 9th 2020 v1

9th July at 12:30pm Via Zoom

About this Event

EEON are proud to present an interactive on-line panel discussion with Phoebe Mwanza and Jo Szczepanska moderated by Victor Sojo to further our understanding of Intersectionality and Codesign.

Intersectionality has possibly been one of the most used terms in the diversity and inclusion practitioner’s vocabulary in the past year and has become essential in their practice. The term was first coined by African American scholar and civil rights lawyer in 1989 to explain the experiences of African American women. “Even as the word ‘intersectionality’ is becoming more common, its meaning is becoming less clear. When words move from a specialized arena into the mainstream, they often get a little flabby: their sharply delineated corners blur a bit as the word is passed down a long line of speakers.”

People are complex & are made up of multiple characteristics. An intersectional lens recognises & responds to this. Intersectionality recognises that these multiple characteristics cannot be looked at in isolation. They cannot be isolated & reduced to a single characteristic when trying to understand someone’s experience. Intersectionality recognises that there is diversity within diverse groups. Intersectionality refers to a way of seeing people’s experiences as shaped by (but not limited to) their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, religion, class, socioeconomic status, gender identity, ability or age, all at the same time. This overlap or combination of differences makes up a person’s unique identity.

However, the point of understanding intersectionality is to also understand

• the variety and/or forms of discrimination or exclusion that one may experience simultaneously at any given time (for example gender and race together)

• how systems and structures intersect and interact on multiple levels to oppress, create barriers and overlapping forms of discrimination, stigma and power imbalances based on particular social characteristics

• our own inherited or acquired privilege from a position of power and acting to extend this to everyone.

Codesign is an approach to problem solving gaining popularity in governments around the world. Used to tackle ‘wicked problems’--those with complex needs and unclear solutions—it requires partnership between communities and experts to map, evaluate and re-design services and systems. It is informed by the human perspective in every step. True codesign and implementation of policy, frameworks, systems is responsive to the unique needs of every individual because it is designed with them. This allows for fair, inclusive and equitable practices in all settings. This is a challenge for practitioners when they are asked to focus on one area of diversity, for example, gender equity, to the exclusion of other areas.

Key learning areas for the session include:

• A better understanding of intersectionality and its application to our personal and professional environments

• Offering an understanding of codesign, how it works and applies to the development of policy, systems and frameworks or the dismantling of systemic barriers

• How to effectively leverage intersectionality and codesign in your D&I practice

• How power relations operate to differentiate based on multiple and intersecting dimensions of social identities (such as race, income, ethnicity, age, disability) in any given policy/services design

• How to prevent and manage workers’ experience of discrimination or exclusion due to intersecting identities.

• To offer new ways of going forward to ensure we are inclusive in all settings

Suggested Prereading

About our Speakers


Phoebe Mwanza

Phoebe Mwanza has been a lawyer since 2007 with a specific focus on anti-discrimination and human rights law. Phoebe has a Masters in International Law and has worked in both the private and public sectors. She is currently a Senior Legal Adviser with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. She is also the Co-Founder of the Diversity and Inclusion consulting agency Hueman Equity Consulting. Phoebe has worked with organisations such as the Attorney General’s Department, Ernst and Young and the Department of Education. She also undertook a fellowship programme with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and participated in the inaugural UN Young Women’s Forum in Sydney.

Phoebe was appointed a member of Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Regional Advisory Council for the Southern Region for 2019-2021. She was also appointed to be on the Human Rights Advisory Panel for the QLD Parliament in 2020. Phoebe also undertook a fellowship programme with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and participated in the inaugural UN Young Women’s Forum in Sydney, Australia.

Phoebe is the Producer and Host of The Griot Podcast, a podcast that provides a social justice and spiritual commentary on contemporary issues. She is also a Board Member of Oz African TV. She has co-authored a chapter in the book “Future Kind Anthropology” on being an ally to people who continue to experience marginalisation.


Jo Szczepanska

Jo is a designer, researcher and co-design advocate. She works with clients and communities to think big, act small and prototype quickly. A Solidaność refugee and ally she's worked in Australia and abroad receiving multiple awards for sustainable and socially inclusive design. Jo is an expert in translating ethnographic and generative research into meaningful human-centric plans, products, and services.

Jo has years of experience applying co-design to many sectors and topics. She holds a Master of Social Design looking at healthcare experiences. She currently works on impact projects with resilient communities that are hard to reach. Her approaches aim to increase access for all involved. She lectures in Design thinking, human-centred design and service design.


Dr Victor Sojo

Dr. Sojo is a Lecturer in Leadership and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Workplace Leadership, Department of Management and Marketing, FBE (University of Melbourne).

He is currently conducting research on leadership development in the public sector, dominant narratives about workplace gender diversity, macro-drivers of individual level well-being differences between men and women, and on the dimensions, prevalence, predictors and consequences of abuse at work and professional sport. Victor completed his PhD in Psychology at the University of Melbourne, working on human resilience to stress, positive emotions, and health. He undertook a Master of Science in Health Psychology, researching the impact of risk and protective factors on the health of unemployed individuals at the Simon Bolivar University, in Venezuela, and completed a Bachelor of Science in Industrial / Organisational Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) at the Central University of Venezuela.

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EEON Event Banner July 2020 Diversity v1