Imagine a world where cutting-edge advancements converge with a profound understanding of women’s health needs, innovative solutions are designed by and for women, and digital platforms seamlessly connect individuals with tailored resources for their well-being. Seems like an awesome world right? But there is still a long way to go to get there.
FemTech is a fascinating topic, and a lot is going on; this is why we hosted a roundtable with Digital Health Insider, where leading business executives offered their perspectives on “Innovation and Opportunities to Close the Gender Gap.” This blog post will walk you through some of our findings.
We intended this panel to be diverse in terms of experiences and background. Let me start by presenting our roundtable stars:
- Mitzi Krockover, MD, Founder of Beyond the Paper Gown
- Marissa Fayer, CEO and Founder at HERhealthEQ
- Mira Kaufman, Investment team at Insight Partners
- Josefina Ruiz, Investment team at Light-it
What does Femtech focus on?
Women’s Health and Femtech are often linked only to reproductive health, but it’s way more significant than that. So, let’s set the record straight. Femtech focuses on diseases and conditions that either affect just women or affect women disproportionally or differently. Let’s break it down:
- First, we’ve got the “bikini medicine.” These are conditions and diseases that exclusively affect women. These include puberty, pregnancy, menopause, reproductive health, and breast cancer. But this is not all.
- The second bucket is diseases and conditions that impact both genders but manifest uniquely in women. Consider heart disease or depression—women often present different symptoms than men.
- Lastly, some diseases are predominant in women. For example, did you know that 66% of people with Alzheimer’s and 80% with osteoporosis are women? Some autoimmune conditions like lupus, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis also disproportionately affect women; this urges focused research and tailored interventions.
It’s evident that women’s health transcends reproductive boundaries. The complexity demands education, data, and gender-specific care for a more inclusive and equitable healthcare landscape.
3 Shocking gender data gaps and statistics
Let us share some additional stats on the current state of FemTech that demonstrate that the gender equality gap remains starkly evident.
- It took until December 2022 for one of the first studies to demonstrate that women are not simply “small guys.” Put another way, you cannot merely alter the dosage of pharmaceuticals based on body weight.
- Women receive only 4% of research funding, and oncology receives 50% of that.
- Due to a lack of testing and knowledge, women are 50–75% more likely to experience adverse medication reactions than men.
Where is the Gender Health Gap?
The stats speak for themselves, and the main issues lie in Research, Data, and Knowledge.
For instance, not until 2014 did NIH (National Institutes of Health, US) release criteria and guidelines on sexual parity in preclinical research. Even in medical school curricula, male anatomy is predominantly taught, and women are not equally included in research.
Without research, we lack data, and without data, we cannot tap into the potential of 51% of the population, which are women, limiting our ability to discover new markets, create innovative products, and attract investment.
As a result of the gender health gap, women receive disproportionately less care and have fewer healthcare options. And this leads to worse health results for women.
So, how do we close the gap?
Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise in the FemTech industry, new companies, new initiatives, and, last but not least, more research. Ensuring the healthcare system indeed incorporates all of these findings is crucial.
Awareness is first and foremost. We need more women in leadership, science, technology, and entrepreneurship. We can all impact the amount and kind of research by educating our legislators, our policymakers, and voting.
Essential Tools & Resources to start a business, grow, and innovate in FemTech
From informative newsletters to podcasts, communities, and more! All aim to keep you informed and empowered in the fast-evolving world of FemTech. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, researcher, investor, or simply someone interested in this field, these resources will help you stay ahead of the game.
As we wrap up our exploration of the state of the FemTech industry, it’s clear that there are indeed challenges and hurdles to overcome. However, it’s important to remember that these challenges also represent opportunities for growth, innovation, and positive change.
The future of FemTech should focus on the woman as a whole, outside of “bikini medicine.”
With continued research, investment, and collaboration, we can anticipate even more groundbreaking solutions to address women’s health concerns.