Overcome the pressure
Transcultural design refers to the process by which a community borrows certain systems and concepts from a majority culture to shape it for its own use. By merging these systems, it carries the idea of creating new cultural phenomena and innovations. I believe that the improvement of the quality of life of human beings is at the center of this discipline.
It’s through creativity, culture and social points of view that we can understand the way systems operate. It allows us to identify emerging crops/weaknesses created by a system and mold relevant concepts in order to create services which allow users to emancipate themselves through their desires and life goals.
As a designer I commit myself to create tools, develop and support innovation through services that help individuals, networks and organisations to thrive.
By following this approach we will see in this case study how the urban environment allows Shanghainese women to emancipate themselves and overcome life pressures and citizen stigmatizations.
Women in Shanghai accounted for 48,63% of the population in 2000 whereas they represented 50,12% of the downtown area in 2010: the women presence increased by 3,85% in 10 years.
With the representation of women in Shanghai, we can observe a contrast with the actual sex ratio of China. Since China enacted the planned birth policy, the male-to-female birth ratio has constantly been imbalanced. In 2010, the male-to-female ratio for newborns was 118 boys to 100 girls, the highest imbalance of human gender in the world.
Basically created to reduce the poverty of Chinese citizens and control the growth of the population, the family planning policy, and more especially the one child policy set under Mao in 1979, finally pushed family to practice selective abortion, which resulted in 330 million of selective abortions between 1971 and 2010. Because of the selection at birth, we can notice the creation of the gender inequality, supported by the traditional mindset: "men belong in public, women belong at home".
Because women are pushed to find their well-being by confronting their perspectives of life with the different prerogatives fixed by society, they made the choice to use the urban environment as a mean to develop and expand their ways to find solutions and overcome obstacles.
Those solutions to escape are, most of the time, centered on the balance between pressure and pleasure. By being part of the movement, which occurs in the city across different groups and cultures, women are forging their identity though a framework enabling them to chose how they want to manage their routine. Over a panel of different solutions, they can socialize, have interactions with people who share common needs, ignore the pressure environment and be independent in the choices they make to develop their own lifestyle. By challenging themselves, they emancipate in their life desires and have step by step access to their vision of success.
In a way to understand their behavior in consequence of desire, I created a survey and broadcast it on WeChat.
The feedbacks on their sensation and vision of success enabled me to understand that unlike emerging adulthood women (which is a transition period of instabilities and possibilities between 18 and 25 years old), women who are 25 years old and above have set up their life goals and ways of thinking. Most of them want to have a successful career by overcoming other pressures.
In order to understand how they succeed, I wanted to identify key elements which help them to find, during their routine, the balance between the pressure environment and their life goals.
Because I needed to be part of their environment and find a place dedicated to working empowerment, I chose a coworking environment to strike up conversations with them (Naked Hub). To create an intuitive dialog, I developed tangible tools which helped me define how they emancipate, evaluate their pressure sensations and link moments to feelings.
By understanding how they manage their life to accomplish their desires and succeed, previous dialogs helped me to regroup different notions and highlight 3 key notions: the lifestyle, the personality and the community.
In fact, community is the main notion since it allows them to contribute, socialize, find support and share their interests. Thanks to that infatuation and women's commitment, different groups in Shanghai have been launched such as the Shanghai leadership women network or the international professional women's society.
These leadership women communities create, in order to advise, events, workshops and collaborative sessions.
By providing advice, these communities help women to extend their network based on their centers of interest at the same time as they answer their needs. In a way to get data and understand what these special needs are, I chose to scrape data from the Meet up group "Shanghai Leadership Network".
Meet up is an online networking portal that facilitates group meetings, it allows members to find, join and follow groups unified by common interests but above all, members' interests are generated through the groups they follow.
To understand their needs (interests), I used the Meetup API and collected datas from 250 women of this groups.
Guimi is a WeChat app which aims to create the link between women and their community. It allows them to follow their personal goals, commit and have access to their needs and life perspectives.
Through the platform, women indicate their interests and achievements, by sharing it as a system of questions (stories) / answers, they extend their network, follow influencers, groups and events.
In the discover part, users can read suggested stories based on their profile topics (interests/achievements).
Stories, posted by women with specific needs (interests tagged as story topics), aim to touch women able to answer. Thanks to women who answer stories (based on their achievements and knowledge), women who posted or consulted stories can emancipate in their life goals (interests).
Live videos create a real dialog between them, so women can get feedbacks from influencers who use the urban environment and its opportunities as a reference to escape the pressure and find their own direction. These influencers who can be rewarded for their live sessions, became key opinion leaders by giving relevant feedback to users’ needs (by answering stories and questions).