You may have heard the term “femtech” which stands for ‘female technology’ and includes a range of products or services that use technology to support and meet women’s health needs.
The phrase was started by Ida Tin, the founder of Clue, the period tracker app. She invented the term femtech to categorize all technical women’s health products and services. Ida told Insider, ”I thought, what if we had a term that could put them all in one category?” She went on to say, “That felt empowering. But it also felt like it would be easier for investors and media to go find these companies and to talk about them.”
Femtech largely focuses on providing health products and services for the following areas: menstrual health, sexual health, menopause, fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood.
The idea of femtech is to reinvent the wheel, to think creatively and outside the box by designing new solutions for women’s health issues. It’s not about taking a product and redesigning it in pink and marketing it to a female audience. It’s about ensuring women have access to the health care and information they need.
According to Frost & Sullivan, with 50 percent of the world’s population being female, they predict that by 2025 the femtech market will potentially be worth $50 billion.
Some say that femtech shows an awareness of a movement over gender-inequality and is necessary as solutions to women’s health issues need to be prioritized, having been secondary to men’s health for centuries. However, others would argue that the phrase femtech is not inclusive and may encourage pink tax as products gain a higher price tag.
Femtech solutions can help women to feel empowered and in control of their health. It opens up their choices when making decisions about their care and the treatment they receive.
Femtech can be accessible to women in different forms, such as:
- Wearables, i.e. bracelets and necklaces
- Virtual clinics
- Screening tests and diagnostics
MEET THE COMPANIES WHO ARE USING FEMTECH TO CHANGE THE FACE OF WOMEN’S HEALTH
There are many companies that are working on technical solutions for women’s health needs. It’s exciting to see a range of creative options in the making and currently available on the market. So whether it’s monitoring your fertility, managing your birth control, or eliminating your hot flushes femtech has you covered. Let’s look at 6 companies which are using femtech to offer women freedom and choice.
Inne is a fertility monitoring app which uses your saliva to test when you’re ovulating. The test allows you a 4-hour window in the morning to take your saliva. You simply apply your saliva to a stick, push the stick into a device, and the information is then read and synced to the app on your phone. The device measures your progesterone levels to track possible ovulation.
Inne wants to empower women to know their bodies, their window of ovulation, and to better understand their cycle.
Emme wants women to have a better experience with birth control. They have designed a smart case in which you insert your pill pack into. This then automatically senses whether or not you’ve taken your contraceptive Pill. The case is paired to your phone and sends you an alert if you’ve forgotten to take your Pill. If you miss a Pill then Emme can guide you on what to do next.
Emme says that 80 percent of their beta testers reported it helped them to reduce the number of Pills they forgot to take. The app also allows you to track your cycle, moods, and any side effects from taking the Pill.
NextGen Jane is in the process of developing a smart tampon. The tampon collects a sample from your endometrial lining which can then be tested for signs of early disease or fertility issues.
NextGen Jane wants to support girls and women, from puberty to post-menopause, to take ownership of their health and make smart and informed choices when it comes to testing and treatment.
Grace is a stylish bracelet with the goal of helping women monitor and soothe menopause hot flushes. The bracelet is being designed to detect when a hot flush is about to start. When the bracelet is triggered, a cooling patch is activated on your wrist with the aim to reverse the effects of a hot flush.
The bracelet also syncs to an app on your phone, allowing you to monitor your hot flushes and gain a better understanding of them.
Scanwell provides women aged 18-60 years old with urinary tract infection (UTI) home kits. After peeing on a stick, the kit will tell you if you have a UTI in 2 minutes. If positive, you are able to chat with an online doctor who will then arrange antibiotics via prescription to be collected from your chosen pharmacy.
This saves women time as they will no longer need to take a urine sample to the doctor, for it to be tested, and then wait for a prescription.
ava is a watch that allows the wearer to be able to track their most fertile days. The watch is worn overnight and whilst asleep, it monitors your breathing rate, blood flow, skin temperature, heart rate, and pulse. It then uploads this information into the app for you to be able to track the best 5 days to get pregnant. The app also monitors your weight, sleep, stress levels, and tracks your cycles.
FEMTECH AND WOMEN’S HEALTH
The world of femtech is growing and will continue to grow over the coming years. Brands and innovators are creating and designing solutions for women’s health needs that have existed for years and at times have been sidelined and under researched—and we’re excited to see this progress continue.
Advancements in femtech is an opportunity to empower women to make informed choices on how they receive care and when choosing treatment options.