Using an Intersectional Approach to Understand Your Audience - Part 2

As part of WIRE’s Intersectional Financial Wellness video suite produced as part of the Women’s Financial Capabilities Project, Manasi Wagh of Bread + Roses outlined the different things to consider when choosing an audience from a migrant community. In Part 2, she looks at how age, English proficiency, and individual financial literacy assessments impact upon audience selection. The following article has been extracted from the video series. 

Your organisation has just started to identify the parameters around the audience for your new program or service. Using the teachings of Understanding Your Audience, Part 1 you’ve established the cultural identity, languages spoken, migration history and visa status of your target audience.

Now it’s time to go even deeper on assessing your audience’s needs. Let’s look at the age range, English proficiency and finally, the financial literacy needs of your group

Age Group 

First up, is age group, this is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re designing a service or program, understanding the age group of women you’re wanting to work with is important. Women experience different financial pain points in different stages of their life. 

For example, research shows us that women in their elder years experience far more homelessness as compared to younger women. Younger women might have a different set of financial pain points. So addressing these pain points according to their age groups is important for developing a program that is truly going to address the needs of a community. 

English Proficiency 

Secondly, you must consider a group’s English proficiency, but also your audience’s own assessment of their English proficiency. Just because people come from different countries and speak multiple languages does not automatically mean they won’t be proficient in English. This is an all too common mistake, and why it’s important to look at where your audience sees themselves in this regard. 

Individual Financial Literacy Assessment 

Lastly, you must look at individual assessments of financial literacy needs. This is a very interesting part of looking into your audience, because it really allows you to go into the depths of where people are at and where they’re coming from. To be truly intersectional, knowing how groups of people self-assess their financial literacy needs is important. 

For example, the definition of wealth can differ from person to person. In Australia, wealth mostly consists of shares, property or superannuation, but in some cultures, gold or gold jewelry is the main asset that constitutes someone’s wealth. A woman with lots of gold jewelry may be considered quite asset rich, because not only can she wear them, she can also easily liquidate these assets in her home country. Things are very different in Australia, and if she faces any financial hardship, she quickly realises that the gold that she’s wearing cannot be quickly liquidated for cash. So of course her financial situation has dramatically changed. 

Case Study: Women’s Health in the North – Let’s Talk Money 

When designing any program or service, taking a strength based approach to analyse where a community or an individual sees themselves, can help your program to go deeper. A successful example is Women’s Health in the North’s award-winning ‘Let’s Talk Money’ program. It has successfully run for over four years. It truly represents the intersectional approach, and they also utilise a peer education model. They have recruited a number of women from particular communities and trained them to be financial literacy educators. These women go back into their community to deliver tailored financial literacy education programs. This has not only improved the uptake of financial knowledge, but we can see through the evaluation data that there have been positive financial behavioural changes as a result. 

‘Lens on, hands on’, is a practical guide for people who develop and deliver women’s financial capability and wellbeing programs to apply intersectionality in their thinking and practice.

This article was extracted from the Intersectional Financial Wellness video series which was produced as part of the Women’s Financial Capabilities Project led by WIRE in partnership with Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand, First Nations Foundation, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Women with Disabilities Victoria, and Financial Counselling Australia. The Project is supported by the Victorian Government. 

Bread + Roses are a program incubator and consultancy service, dedicated to economic empowerment of women. They work with organisations and government bodies, corporates and not-for-profits to develop impactful and innovative ways to ensure that the financial resilience and economic equality of women is met.

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