The following is a guest post by Fanalytics speaker Chloe Tseng.
Full of sushi, ramen, and curry rice, my entry for Iron Viz feeder contest was about Japanese food. With excitement, I showed my work to my mentor Kenneth Villa for feedback. He looked at it and told me, “Chloe, your visualization is interesting, but it would be even more meaningful if you could leverage data visualization to advocate for social causes.”
Data visualization is an effective way to share a story that stimulates people, catalyzes actions, and leads changes. Why wouldn’t I use the power of visualization to communicate a social cause? That conversation inspired me to think how I could design visualization to make positive influence. Here are the three steps you can follow to get involved in the causes with visualization.
1. Find a Social Cause
The first question you should ask yourself is: What matters most to you? The answer for me is gender equality. I grew up in a culture where women were imprisoned by gender stereotypes and hold themselves back from pursuing a career. Therefore, I aspire to create visualization to increase awareness and understanding of gender inequality. Ask the question, think through your experience, and find a cause close to your heart.
2. Find Data Sources
Finding good data could be challenging, but if you’re passionate about gender equality like me, there are three great data sources you could explore:
- The OECD Gender Data Portal offers gender statistics focusing on education, employment, entrepreneurship, health and development.
- The World Bank's Gender Data Portal contains collections of gender data on the following topics: demography, education, health, economic opportunities, public life and decision-making, and agency.
- Women in the States provides national and state gender data on a variety of issues, such as political participation, employment & earnings, work & family, poverty & opportunity, reproductive rights, health & well-being, and violence & safety.
3. Focus on Solutions
Viewing a visualization for a social issue can be depressing. The purpose is to evoke a social change, not to disempower people. Thus, a good data visualization should not only reveal the problem, but also urge viewers to act on improving the status quo. Show your audience what they can do and lead them to take action.
Through data visualization, we can empower people to fight for changes and drive movements for a better world (check out mine below). I’d like to invite you to build a visualization about a cause to educate people and make impact. Share your data visualization with me by using the hashtag #VizForSocialGood on Twitter, and your work will be featured on VizForSocialGood.com. The goal is to leverage our passion for data to initiate and promote meaningful conversation for social good. I look forward to hearing from you!