design4women

Our design team, Leah Divito and I, have partnered with Austin-based nonprofit, JUST, to conduct design research which seeks to understand underrepresented communities seeking financial inclusion.

The sex industry is frequently marginalized, stigmatized and policed – and so are the women who work within it. In our last blog post, we introduced our research which specifically focuses on how women working in the sex industry relate to money and how their identities and communities influence this relationship.

Everyone has a relationship with money. That relationship informs the way we make decisions, work together, and move through life. We are ultimately interested in understanding how identity and community shape that relationship while are simultaneously influenced by it.

Over the last week, we’ve begun to speak to female-identifying performers including sex workers, strippers, dancers, cam-girls, phone sex operators, bartenders, amongst other professions.

We realized early in this process that recruiting participants would be challenging. Trust can be hard to come by – a possible consequence of the stigma and policing drawn to this industry.

We initially relied on mutual connections. We also approached women working in various strip clubs. We posted flyers in lingerie stores, bookstores, coffee shops, sex toy stores. We posted an ad on Craigslist. We tried many things. Some approaches worked better than others, but each taught us something new about the space we sought to understand.

Flyer_design4women - fb

We were eventually able to conduct five formal interviews in our first week. Through questions and exercises, we discussed sexuality, finances, community and identity, and the roles it plays within and outside work. The stories which arise from these interviews are invaluable and inform all phases of our design process.

We will be sharing those stories with you soon.

Until then, if you or someone you know may be interested in chatting with us, please reach out to design4women@ac4d.com to get in touch. Your perspective is incredibly valuable to better understanding and ultimately designing solutions for this unique group of workers.