Striving for Equity: Why Do We Need Femtech?

Striving for Equity Why Do We Need Femtech

Do you scrunch your body up at the thought of feminine toiletries?   

For the girls out there, do you have to hide your tampons under your sleeves when you have to be excused? We understand. Sure, menstruation is not our favorite dinner table topic, but why do women have to be embarrassed or discreet about it? 

Humans have grown from making African Americans use only the “colored toilets” to electing female presidents, and progress is never ceasing. To call everyone to action in working towards building a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, the United Nations General Assembly has set up 17 marketable objectives, the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, in 2015 and looks to achieve them by 2030. Among them, gender equality is Goal 5.

Enter: FemTech, where technological advancement meets the needs of women. 

But first, what is FemTech?

Say a girl tries explaining how exactly a tampon works, will guys take her seriously? We think not. 

FemTech changes that. FemTech refers to the technology used to cater for women’s health. The term was coined by the founder of the period tracking app Clue, Ida Tin, to empower women. It makes communicating with investors and media easier, as the term describes products specially made for female hygiene. 

It categorizes women’s healthcare as a separate category to converge women and mainstream healthcare so that women can have a more comfortable conversation when discussing bodily issues. Having a dedicated genre for female healthcare products will raise public awareness of their significance.  

Taboo around women’s healthcare needs

Does it surprise you that, as of 2022, many women across the world cannot afford sanitary pads or tampons? And that some cultures still ban women from daily activities during menstruation? For instance, in Syria, female healthcare is left in the dark. There, periods are considered a “shameful taboo”, and women are discouraged from washing their genitals during their periods, as people think that it might contaminate the water of communal bathing areas. As such, a lot of women contract infections due to their lack of access to clean bathing facilities. The belief of menstruation being impure leaves women to suffer not only from physical but also psychological pain as well. 

Of course, Syria is not the only country where talking about menstrual health is a taboo subject. Period poverty, or the lack of access to menstrual education and products, exists in every part of the world, including where we consider as the “developed” areas. The avoidance around women’s physical needs contributes to their healthcare being overlooked. 

How does FemTech reinforce gender equality?

Historically, health research was heavily tilted towards men, as many believed that the differences between men and women’s bodies were not significant except for the reproductive system. In light of the overlook of women’s healthcare, many FemTech companies collaborate with the education and medical field to increase women’s representation in the health space by addressing the gender health gap.

These efforts have sparked the rise of FemTech products, like period tracking apps, sustainable period products, breastfeeding monitors, contraception and fertility trackers, to cater to the variety of health needs of women and educate people about the female reproductive system. In the long term, FemTech can help women take greater interest and control over their bodies

Besides, FemTech also brings female healthcare to society’s attention. The increased discussion, presence and exposure of these products and technologies in our daily lives can destigmatize women’s healthcare needs and raise cultural acceptance of women’s health. It also attempts to mitigate gender stereotypes by addressing common myths, like periods are “dirty” or “shameful”. 

Moreover, women using these products can connect with each other in the community. For instance, many period tracker apps allow users to communicate with each other as health experts regarding the questions and issues they have around their period. Not only can this help them physically, but women will also be encouraged to speak about their bodies and needs in a supportive, inclusive atmosphere. 

Though FemTech claims to advocate for women’s rights, there are still seeds of doubt about where it’s headed.

Next step: more inclusivity

While FemTech is at the front line in the battle against female healthcare stigmatization, many believe that the category is not “sufficiently inclusive”. One reason behind this includes the belief that some FemTech topics are not women-exclusive but affect other genders as well—consider infertility. Further, the unique experience as a result of interconnected identities (consider an old Black lesbian woman) should also be highlighted as well.

It is because many non-dominant communities, such as LGBTQ+, Black, indigenous, people of color and elderly, often receive worse or are refused healthcare support. This indicates that we have many more steps to take in order to provide genuinely equal access for everyone in society to quality and inclusive healthcare.

After all, we are trying to accentuate all aspects of healthcare and educate people on the significance of gender (in)equality. As we continue to develop all sorts of new technologies, we have to take into account at all times inclusivity and equity. Now, instead of stuttering when we are trying to involve female products in our discourse, just say FemTech proudly.

Also read: 

Header image courtesy of Pexels

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

How Organizations Can Cope with Change

How Organizations Can Cope with Change

It is almost inevitable that you will experience some changes in the workplace during your career. Be it through digitalization or employee restructuring—businesses need to keep themselves ahead of the curve by quickly adapting to change.

What LaMDA’s “Sentience” Means for AI

What LaMDA’s “Sentience” Means for AI

With the advent of self-driving cars and artificial intelligence (AI) artists, AI is getting closer and closer to replicating human capabilities each day. However, there is one thing that separates humans from AI—emotional intelligence or sentience. Or, at least, so we thought.
In June this year, Google software engineer Blake Lemoine came out with the claim that Google’s AI chatbot LaMDA (short for language model for dialogue applications) had become sentient.

PLC Ultima A Cryptocurrency for Mass Use or a Scam

PLC Ultima: A Cryptocurrency for Mass Use or a Scam?

In December 2021, a new contender entered the cryptocurrency market. Going by the name PLC Ultima (PLCU), the currency was just valued at US$0.10 when it first came into existence. To put this into perspective, 6000 cryptocurrencies had been launched in 2021, taking the total number of cryptos in the market from 10,000 to 16,000.

Budget Southeast Asia Getaways for Entrepreneurs

5 Budget Southeast Asia Getaways for Founders

As an entrepreneur, you’re always on the go, pushing yourself to the limits and working hard to achieve your goals. While starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding, you need to take some time off from time to time. Not just for your mental health—though that’s important, too—taking a break from having to constantly juggle life, work and family obligations 24/7 also helps keep those creative juices flowing.

Top 7 Luxury Watches to Invest in 2022

Top 7 Luxury Watches to Invest in 2022

This year, luxury watches overtook Bitcoin and vintage cars to become the most coveted investment option among the three. Though watch prices have fallen since the infamous crypto crash, they are still significantly up from their prices in 2019. In fact, during the pandemic, people used their saved up money to invest in watches, including Rolex and Patek Philippe. Renowned watch brands caught everyone’s attention as their resale values surged.

Art Theft The Disturbing New Issue on NFT Platforms

Art Theft: The Disturbing New Issue on NFT Platforms

The dark side of the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) market started to reveal itself after NFTs became mainstream last year. Previously, we have explored how the NFT marketplace is riddled with scams, such as artist impersonations and insider trading. Not only have such hoaxes become a big issue for buyers hoping to get their hands on genuine artist works but also for the artists themselves.