July 2020 Power Womxn
We’re committed to uplifting the amazing womxn in tech who are working to ensure that everyone – no matter who they are or where they live – can achieve reproductive well-being. Brought to you by Pandia Health, we are pleased to launch the Power Womxn series in which we will feature womxn FemTech leaders and founders who are out to change the world!
This month’s Power Womxn is Andrea Barrica CEO and Co-founder of O.school, a judgment-free education platform to learn about sexuality and pleasure through articles, live chat, online conversations, and more.
What inspired you to start/lead your company?
In 2016, I found there was a huge gap online between medical resources like Planned Parenthood and porn, and I became obsessed with thinking about the space in between. Soon after, I began building O.school. As a young person raised in a conservative Catholic Filipino-American family who barely received any sex education in high school, I struggled with sexual shame through most of my life. I needed O.school when I was growing up, and I wanted to be a part of the growing movement to end stigma about sex and ensure the next generation (and folks of all ages) has more resources than I did.
How does your work help give people the tools to achieve reproductive well-being?
My team's work with O.school is all about providing medically accurate, shame-free information about sexuality, including pleasure. Leaders in modern reproductive health have paved the way to have open and honest conversations about anatomy, contraception, fertility, and other important reproductive topics, but comprehensive sex education also includes education about pleasure, from masturbation to the orgasm gap, and we love being that non-judgmental friend people can ask questions like "why am I always horny?" to "why does my clit hurt?" to "what does it feel like to get oral sex?"
How would you define success for your company and for the fem tech space, more generally?
I define success for us as the way we make our audience feel, the quality and accuracy of our information, and the way that we're able to scale information to many different and diverse audiences. Our mission is to reach a billion people with our education and help people live happier, heathier lives by supporting their journeys to build the sex life that is right for them.
How do you see the FemTech space changing in the next 5 years? What are you looking forward to?
The "FemTech" space will evolve a lot in the next five years. There will be more founders representing different lived experiences, and I hope to see more women of color, especially black women and trans/non-binary founders build products to ensure that the reproductive health challenges of all communities are addressed. Consequently, I also think that "FemTech" will eventually become outdated to address the gender diversity that the next generation of founders will bring to the space of reproductive health, perhaps "ThemTech." Our understanding of sexuality and gender is evolving, and the reproductive health communities will need to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the next, more LGBTQ-aware generation.
What advice what you give other womxn looking to get into FemTech?
There are so many opportunities to be a part of the future of reproductive health. Work for the smartest founder you know to learn and network and focus on building a community of support for yourself. Building companies and movements are hard, and community is what gets you through it all.