We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a Women in Web3 Mentoring Pool to support more women to build, launch, grow, invest in and lead Web3 projects. Web3 is one of the fastest-growing industries at the moment and the opportunity to create and contribute in this space is huge. Yet the representation of women working in this space is estimated to be less than 5%.
Web3 has become a catch-all term for the vision of a new, better internet. At its core, Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs to give power back to the users in the form of ownership.
It is an industry that is dear to the hearts of OneUpOneDown Co-Founders, Natalie Robinson and Dzhuliana Nikolova. Natalie has participated in the blockchain industry as an investor and contributor for the past 5 years, including running educational workshops in 2017 and leading a blockchain accelerator in 2018. Dzhuliana is currently a Cardano Ambassador and co-leader of the Women in Cardano community.
We caught up with Natalie to find out more about the Web3 Mentoring Pool and why they are passionate about this initiative.
Q1: Why did you decide to launch the Web3 Mentoring Pool for Women?
Mentorship is a powerful way to create pathways for new action and outcomes, whether it be developing into a new position in an existing organization and industry or transitioning into a new industry. When I think back to my own career, I was led to new and rewarding opportunities through my relationships with other people – this is how I became aware of what was out there and gained the information I needed to be informed and confident enough to take action. Blockchain technology is one of the most innovative and transformative technologies of our time and we want more women to be at the forefront of building the solutions that will shape the future. Once we realized that industry pools were a way we could group mentors and mentees in the OneUpOneDown network based on shared experience and desires, a Web3 pool was something we were all eager to launch and test out as a solution to bring more women into the industry.
Q2: What exactly is the Web3 Pool and how can one participate?
The Web3 Pool is a network of mentors and mentees with a shared interest in and/or experience working in Web3. Think of OneUpOneDown as a large network of women learning from each other on an ongoing basis through trusted relationships and knowledge sharing, in the form of mentorship. A Pool is a subsection of this network. The women who join this pool want to connect with, learn from, and guide other women who have a shared interest in Web3 technology. Joining and participating in this pool is easy. Just sign up for OneUpOneDown using this link. You will see in the sign-up form that the Web3 Industry Pool has been assigned to your profile, meaning you will be matched with other women in this pool. You can sign up as a mentee, mentor, or both. You will then be matched with a mentor and/or mentee as suitable matches become available.
Q3: Why are you and your partners committed to having more representation of women in this industry?
For me, there is a micro and a macro reason. The micro reason is the value that participating in this industry can have for an individual woman, her ability to contribute her unique value, generate wealth, and to have an impact.
Blockchain technology is not only enabling a new type of value proposition for the purpose of building products, but it is also enabling a new way for people to lead, collaborate, and assign/receive economic value. If you want to learn more about some of the differences in leadership behaviors for Web3 compared to Web 2, I recommend checking out this video by Morgan Beller.
The macro reason is that creation reflects the views and beliefs of the people behind it, and the influence of the people creating things is greatest at the inception. It is still early in development and realized the value of this technology. Powerful communities and products are being created that will go on to have a significant impact on our world. The culture of these groups and how they see the world will shape the future. More women building and contributing to Web3 products and projects increases the chances of these projects and products reflecting the needs and world views of women.
Our partners understand this and are committed to finding lasting, healthy solutions to creating more diversity within their communities.
Q4: Why do you think only ~5% of participants in Web3 are women?
Well, there is a legacy issue with women in tech and these issues carry over to blockchain technology. There have been significantly more men as leaders and participants in blockchain from the outset. Why haven’t the numbers balanced out over time? If you’ve participated in blockchain project communities or any other communities that are heavily male-dominated, you might have experienced feeling withdrawn and that, for some invisible reason, it’s harder to put forward your ideas and contribute at your full potential. It is not necessarily because of any intentional behavior of the people within the group or team that you are engaging with, it is just what happens when there is a dominant culture created by people who communicate, collaborate, or think differently from you. When a person feels like this, it’s a challenge to learn, engage and contribute within this space. This is a shared experience by many women in blockchain spaces and something we know mentorship can change.
Q5: How will the Web3 OneUpOneDown Mentoring Pool help to solve this problem?
Mentorship is a highly effective way not only to share knowledge but for the mentor to help the mentee develop confidence in their abilities and put themselves forward for opportunities. For women who are wanting to develop their expertise or transition into Web3, a mentor provides a great pathway to enable this and makes decision-making and taking action easier.
Q6: Who should sign up to this pool and why?
Women with experience in Web3 and women who have an interest in participating in this industry. We’re looking for mentors who have experience participating in this industry, and it doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Our matches are made on the basis of “near-peer” mentorship, which means mentees are matched with mentors who are just a couple of steps ahead in terms of their experience. Even things as simple as sharing projects and resources, onboarding into a community, and doing the basics like setting up a wallet and using exchanges, can help other women to overcome hurdles that might have otherwise prevented them from getting started.
Q7: What will help to make this initiative successful?
Working with partners and key people in Web 3 to make people aware of this opportunity and to encourage women with experience in this space to sign up as mentors.