The IRIS Project is an initiative founded by designer and Echos co-founder, Juliana Proserpio, that aims to build a desirable future in which gender equality and female freedom are realities.

The Project

IRIS objective is to create a desirable future in which female freedom exists by fomenting gender equality on the streets, in people’s homes, in schools and in the workplace.

Context

IRIS project started in Brazil, where violence against women is so astounding, the country has been ranked 5th in the world when it comes to crimes against females. Brazilian society’s disconnect with femininity hurts men and kills women every day.

This degree of violence happens because sexism is deeply rooted in society, banalising violent acts against women as everyday occurrences. Proserpio and her colleagues at Echos decided it was time to use the power of design to create a positive – and intentional – future for freedom of femininity.

The project is ongoing and aims to collaborate with people from all genders to create impactful solutions that will help change this sad scenario in the near future in Brazil.

What We’ve Done So Far

In a partnership with the event’s What Design Can Do organisers, Echos developed a deep empathy dynamic for people from all genders to experience first hand how violence against women feels.

As this is an experimental project, the objective was to deepen the knowledge we had about the problem and its complexities as well as offering an experience to people that helped them relate to the problem and, together, start to build a human-centred solution to it.

Using Design Thinking methods, Echos’ team of consultants interviewed men, women and female-targeted violence experts. Their key learning is shared through this quote: “Violence starts in a power dynamic created by the historically build masculine supremacy, as well as its unfolding consequences in multiple social environments.”

Echos hosted 12 deep-empathy workshops across the country with more than 200 participants in total. Their key learning for this phase is summarised by this quote: “The disconnect with femininity hurts men and kills cis and transgender women.”

IRIS main focus shifts to “female freedom”, welcoming men and women into the debate that will help build a future where gender equality is a reality.

Project’s Methodology

Design Thinking*

Design Thinking is a mindset that encourages pluralist and systemic thinking with the goal of building better futures.

By disposing of hierarchies and biases, Design Thinking creates a space in which ideas can arise with no pre-judgment, what forces the brain to step outside of its comfort zone and see desirable futures in the horizon.

Design Thinking is based on three main pillars – empathy, collaboration and experimentation. Design Thinking’s main differential is a human-centred approach to solutions.

*If you’d like to learn more about Design Thinking, click here.

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