The Women's Foundation of California | New Gender Justice Narrative Research Project Releases Data and Advocacy Tools

New Gender Justice Narrative Research Project Releases Data and Advocacy Tools

by Nicola

“Story at Scale” surveyed over 6,000 people nationally, across demographic and ideological lines, to better understand how they experience and think about gender in their everyday lives.

February 18, 2020. OAKLAND, CA – Story at Scale, an innovative new project combining data science and creative storytelling to advance gender justice, debuted new storytelling tools to help activists, creatives, and nonprofits talk about gender justice. The year-long narrative research project serves as a blueprint for advocates to communicate more effectively about issues from reproductive justice to sex- and gender-based violence to LGBTQ+ rights in a way that connects with broad audiences. 

The project is supported by The Culture Change Fund, a donor collaborative led by the Women’s Foundation of California, and including Blue Shield of California Foundation, Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Compton Foundation, General Service Foundation, Libra Foundation, The California Endowment, and additional philanthropic partners. Launched in 2019, the Fund has pledged over $10 million to invest in culture that can change how the public thinks about gender issues.

The two key tools developed by the project are a story platform, or common narrative, and comprehensive audience research that connects people with different personal experiences with gender to the narrative. For the audience research, Story at Scale surveyed over 6,000 people nationally, across demographic and ideological lines, to better understand how they experience and think about gender in their everyday lives. Based on the results researchers created six audience profiles that categorized each audience’s comfort level and receptiveness to stories that advance gender justice. 

“Conversations about gender must be inclusive of everyone, no matter how they identify,” said Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. “Gender impacts peoples’ perspectives and how they view the world, so we created the audience segmentation tool to help activists incorporate race and class into conversations about gender when engaging with audiences that may not be as familiar or comfortable with these discussions.”

In addition to breaking down the unique characteristics of each audience segment, the Story at Scale website also offers a quiz that lets visitors discover which audience group they belong to.

The robust audience segmentation also helped Story at Scale create a story platform – or a common narrative – to help advocates tell compelling stories that can reach diverse audiences of all different backgrounds and beliefs, inspiring them to move towards a just future for everyone. More than 75 artists and advocates developed the platform that can shape stories to move and activate new supporters of gender justice. The story platform is made up of six “pillars,” or themes that will show activists and artists where to look for the different kinds of stories that various audiences need to be told at different moments that can help create necessary change over time. 

“We are a nation of storytellers, but the stories, or narratives, that so often rise to the top around gender are doing us all – men, women, those who are non-binary – a disservice,” said Tracy Sturdivant, CEO and Founder of The League. “The Story at Scale project advances the belief that narrative and culture change are the best strategies to awaken and activate people’s power and imagination to address the urgent challenges facing our world today. It is only by embracing new narratives that we can realize both the short-term and systemic changes that will result in meaningful progress toward gender justice. We’re excited to get this research and tools into the hands of people who can help drive that critical change.” 

The Story at Scale website, storyatscale.org, features research reports, an audience quiz, and details about the audience segmentation research and story pillars. The website also features videos of activists and artists telling their stories and a Spotify playlist highlighting expanding visions of gender in popular music. 

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About Story at Scale

Story at Scale is a year-long collaboration of researchers, data scientists, artists, advocates, and organizers to develop and test a new cultural strategy to advance gender justice. Using big data and a collaborative, creative process, Story at Scale delivers audience research and a narrative foundation to guide artists and campaigners in telling stories that reflect the world we seek: a joy-filled life in a gender-just future. Story at Scale’s tools are designed for practical use by those working on issues ranging from reproductive justice to sex- and gender-based violence to LGBTQ+ rights and more. It is funded by The Culture Change Fund. Learn more at storyatscale.org.

About The Culture Change Fund

The Culture Change Fund is a $10 million+ fund focused on using culture to advance and transform gender justice by changing how the public thinks about wide-ranging issues, including economic security, income inequality, violence against women, sexual assault, maternal health, abortion, contraception, and broader reproductive justice and gender justice issues, among others. The Fund is investing in a data-driven narrative research project called Story at Scale, creating a community of practice and learning for funders, activists, artists and researchers working on gender justice, and direct grantmaking for partner organizations and campaigns from impacted communities engaging in cultural organizing.

About the Women’s Foundation of California

The Women’s Foundation of California is a publicly-supported grant making foundation that invests in, trains, and connects community leaders to advance, gender, racial, and economic justice. Learn more at www.womensfoundca.org.


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