It was only the year 2016 when Ida Tin, the founder of Clue coined the term, ‘femtech’, an umbrella term to include technology which catered to women’s health. A couple of years later, femtech is making its mark in the tech world and this year, it is set to become the next tech boom which is predicted to benefit women all over the world. But is it all that it’s cut out to be? Does femtech really know what women want? Or is a simply a “one size fits all” approach?
A lot of investors are men; they invest in products they can use
For decades, technologies like apps and devices have always been catered to the male demographic, namely white males and truth be told, it is men who hold the purse strings of investment. No wonder femtech has made taken so long to gain momentum in the industry. Just ask Ida Tin and she’ll tell you how hard to was for venture capitalists to wrap their head around her period tracking app. Whatever men may say, the fact is that a majority of them are very uncomfortable talking about women’s health and particularly their sexual health. Founder of San Francisco-based investment firm Portfolia revealed what one man said to her, “‘I don’t want to talk about vaginas every Monday morning.” Tin also added that “A lot of investors are men, and they may be quite naturally inclined to invest in products they can use themselves.” Therefore, it is harder than ever to raise money for a startup created for women by a woman. Hence, it came as no surprise when Crunchbase revealed that a survey conducted by them showed out of 100 global venture firms, women partners made up only 8 percent among them all. Another female founder revealed that venture capitalists would probably invest in a hundredth dating app than in other women-centric markets that they are not aware of.
The issue of privacy and confidentiality is also another issue
From a flurry of period tracking apps to pink fitness bands and various health gadgets, this sector is a multi-million dollar industry that is only growing. However, it is more always better or should femtech adopt the “less is more” approach so that women’s health comes first rather than simply money-making. Will they ensure to include every type of woman by bringing in diversity or will technology again focus only on one sort of woman? Also, the issue of privacy and confidentiality is also another issue that needs to be considered by the industry. Another problem is that a bulk of femtech has been focusing on pregnancy and fertility, all while ignoring young women and girls who also need to be aware of sexual health. But amongst all this, one of the biggest worries for women is the deep data surveillance of their bodies which is making some feel very self-conscious that their data might be stolen or even misused.
However, it is undeniable that such apps and devices are helping women of all ages to become more aware of their bodies all while breaking taboos surrounding menstruation and sexual health. Everyone Googles everything these days and therefore if a women’s health app can be of help then why not invest in one?
Image credit: JWT Intelligence