For those of you who didn’t catch Rachna Bowman’s SPOTtalk, titled ‘Please listen carefully as our options have changed‘, at the FCA Conference in May, or if you’d like to watch it again, a recording is now available on Vimeo. Rachna is the Senior Practitioner of Financial Wellbeing working at South East Community Links.
In Monopoly, everyone starts at exactly the same point of GO! with an equal $200. In real life, everyone starts from places of privilege or disadvantage that can vary wildly. In this recording, Rachna paints a clear picture of how structural inequalities are profound when you try and navigate the current service systems in Australia, and how they are further amplified when there are differences of language, culture, class, ability, gender or sexuality. She states that current systems are designed for the convenience of the provider, not the user, and we need to redesign human-centred service systems that are fair, inclusive and equitable, as what we currently have actively excludes. Everyone should have the right to access services with dignity and understanding, rather than needing a law degree to navigate a product disclosure statement or terms and conditions. Plain, straightforward language documents are needed, as well as translated material to service the 300+ languages spoken in Australia today.
Currently, systems are changing rapidly with fast-paced digitialisation including AI, chat bots, open banking and more, to which Rachna argues that access to independent interpreters, in-language information and accessibility principles should be fundamental in the design of these increasingly modern systems. We are left with the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “a true measure of any society is in how it treats its most vulnerable members”, and Rachna asks us all – “if we are going to be a better society, what are you going to do about it?”