The Importance of Seeing People That Look Like Us in the Places We Aspire To
We launched the ability to filter trails on OwnTrail this week, and while filtering on a website doesn’t seem too newsworthy at first glance, what it means in the larger picture is a big deal. This functionality is a step towards helping womxn see people who look like them in the places they aspire to.
Representation doesn’t just mean physical appearance. It’s incredibly important to see others that hold our same identities, circumstances and past experiences. When we don’t have those people in our purview, it can limit our confidence to go after the things we aspire to. But even more than that, it can limit our imagination of what we could be going after.
As a personal example, before starting OwnTrail I spent years getting to know many incredible women entrepreneurs in Seattle. I’ve been an advisor to female-founded startups, become close friends with many of these visionaries, and even had the honor of receiving a Female Founders Alliance Champion Award. As I got to know all these amazing women, I realized something: If they could start and build impactful and successful companies, I could too! I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to leave my comfortable corporate executive role to co-found a startup if it weren’t for all these inspiring women in my life.
That startup — OwnTrail — is aiming to replicate that experience at scale. We are reimagining and scaling mentorship to serve all women, and a big part of that involves seeing the trails of others that share our same identities and experiences. With the launch of filters, women can now easily explore trails of other women based on the life milestones they have experienced and the identities that they hold.
Because intersectionality is at the core of our vision for OwnTrail, we want to support the many different identities that women hold — both the constant ones, such as ethnicity and sexual orientation, and the situational ones, such as job transitions and fertility issues. We hope that being able to filter down to the trails that are most relevant to a woman today will help her to reach that next milestone tomorrow. Users control what identities and information they share about themselves to enable these filters (because transparency and safety are also core values of ours!).
The ability for women to filter trails to see the ones that are most relevant and inspiring to them is is an important step towards understanding the many paths to and from the major milestones in our lives, helping a diverse range of women see people that look like them in places they aspire to, and creating a bridge from inspiration to action. Check out the trails being shared on OwnTrail with this new level of granularity, and be sure to share your own while you’re there!