In recent years, the Femtech market has expanded to incredible proportions. In fact, it is estimated that this sector will be worth approximately $50bn (£39bn) by 2025. This fast-growing area of technology contains many different facets. From feminist chat bots, to period-related innovations such as non-applicator tampons, many innovations come under the umbrella term of Femtech. Let’s take a closer look at what is meant by this term and how Femtech can lead the way in period management technology.
So, what is Femtech?
It is well documented that women did not always have access to the money and the education that would allow them to excel in the technology sector. Thankfully, changes that have come into play over the last century have meant that women are now getting more opportunities to shine in this industry than they ever have before. Women are now leading the way and spearheading many tech companies, creating innovative responses, particularly to issues that affect other women. This movement has come to be known as Femtech, a term that was first coined by the founder of Clue, Ida Tim.
One main area that Femtech has made a huge impact on is period management technology. This area of innovation is relatively new, and only now are we really beginning to discard period-related taboos and focus on how technology can help us truly understand our cycles. There are now many apps and devices that can help us to manage and monitor our periods. Here are just a few of the options available.
Named one of TIME’s 50 genius companies of 2018, Clue has been leading the way in the field of period management technology for many years now. This helpful app allows you to closely monitor each cycle. As well as letting you mark the beginning and end of each period, the Clue app allows you to monitor how you’re feeling at different stages of your cycle, as well as any side-effects you might be having at various stages. This concept was developed by Ida Tin in 2013.
NextGen Jane is a tech start-up that was established by biomedical engineer, Ridhi Tariyal. The idea behind the company is that they aim to give women the power to test their own menstrual blood at home, catching any health concerns early. After the current testing stage is over, their products will allow women to test themselves for conditions such as endometriosis and cervical cancer.
Different to Clue in that it focusses on contraception rather than period monitoring, Natural Cycles allows users to feel in-touch with their body’s cycle and practice hormone-free natural contraception. This company prides itself on depending on data rather than hormones, allowing women to take back control without having to endure the negative side effects of hormonal contraception. Relying on an algorithm-based fertility tracker, this app works by referring to your basal body temperature (BBT). Before ovulation, your blood temperature should be around 36 degrees Celsius, and will increase slightly when an egg is released. Monitoring this slight change allows the tracker to decipher when you are most fertile.
Bellabeat creates beautiful, wearable wellness-tracking jewellery. Their products allow you to track your cycle as well as monitoring other elements of your physical wellbeing, such as your sleep pattern and your stress levels. In addition to this, Bellabeat offers guided meditations that have been designed to train and calm your mind. These wellness trackers come in a range of designs, including gorgeous leaf-themed jewellery. They also create trackers in the form of watches and water bottles.
The future of Femtech is certainly exciting. Already, these innovations have allowed women to take back control, taking their intimate health and wellbeing into their own hands. Clearly however, we are only just at the beginning of the Femtech journey. In 2020, the majority of tech companies are still male dominated — for example, only 22% of people currently working in AI are female. We are at the start of an innovative journey, just so long as we keep paving the way for women in tech and create an even playing field.