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Femtech: What it is, Who it’s for, and Why it’s Important

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Femtech, the definition: short for feminine technology, might be a relatively new term but its aims are easily identifiable to most women.

Why it Matters

Being a woman doesn’t necessarily come with an instruction manual, and though there are resources for several stages of life, women have a universal understanding regarding their own healthcare that is unique to their experience.

Whether it’s learning to insert a tampon, commiserating about hot flashes, or questioning the necessity of an episiotomy during labor, women often share and use their stories to inform and comfort one another where healthcare has failed.

Gender Bias XYZ

Due to ongoing and prolonged gender biases in the healthcare and medical research fields—whether it’s creating medications, offering critical care and overlooking the differences between genders in clinical trials—women’s health has been neglected, ultimately failing over half the population.

The gap in healthcare equality is enormous, but strides in femtech, which as a term seems to “have become synonymous with women’s healthcare in general,” are shining a light—and offering solutions— on women’s health and stories.

 

Of course, most bold innovations happen out of necessity. Let’s take a look back at the past decade to dive into why and how femtech is waging the war against inequality.

The Year of the Woman?

Politically, they say that 1992 was the “year of the woman.” And while it’s true that a historic number of women were elected to congress, with so much progress still to be made on behalf of women’s rights, it seems like it was a bit of a misnomer.

 

Fast forward to 2016, when a woman was nominated as the presidential candidate for a major political party for the first time in United States history. It really did feel like women were on the precipice of something enormous. People ordered pantsuits and prepared for a victory. Hillary Clinton didn’t win, but in the wake of her loss, the US saw a year of reckoning  from women coast to coast.

The Senate Democratic women in 1993. L-R: Patty Murray, Carol Moseley Braun, Barbara Mikulski, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer

Fighting Our Uphill Battle

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From pussy hats and marches on Washington to the #MeToo movement and a significant uptick in women running for office, 2017 felt like the year when fighting for women’s rights—from reproductive and physical integrity to social and economic—might finally stop feeling like an uphill battle, despite a misogynist leader and worse still, a country that elected him.

 

Instead, in a massive blow to women’s reproductive freedoms and bodily autonomy, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, eliminating the federal right to abortion, leaving states to create their own legislation regarding the legality of pregnancy termination. The decision reversed fifty years of “established constitutional protection for abortion.”

Dobbs Changed Everything: A New Normal for Abortion Access in the US

Since then, several states have imposed Draconian bans on essential health care for women, resulting in often unthinkable choices for those with unwanted or nonviable pregnancies, from leaving the state to obtain an abortion to carrying babies to term, knowing they wouldn’t survive.

 

According to American Progress, “by the 100th day after the Dobbs decision, nearly 22 million women of reproductive age—almost 1 in 3 women—found themselves living in states where abortion was unavailable or severely restricted.”

Bans and Restrictions Span the Country

In fact, according to The New York Times, in their May 1 update to an interactive story on the subject, “twenty-one states ban abortion or restrict the procedure earlier in pregnancy than the standard set by Roe v. Wade.”
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Post-Roe America is a Hostile Landscape

The immediate impact of abortion restrictions reveals itself in testimonies and narratives from women who have suffered as a consequence of unwanted or nonviable pregnancies—cases like those of Samantha Casiano of Texas, who was forced to carry a fetus that would be born with only half a skull and wouldn’t live long past birth.

 

Of Jennifer Adkins, whose own health was at risk from her pregnancy of a fetus with Turner Syndrome, who was forced to leave Idaho for an abortion in Oregon.

 

Of Monica Kelly, who, after learning that her baby had the genetic disorder Patau Syndrome at 13 weeks, was denied an abortion in her home state of Tennessee, despite the fact that the pregnancy could put her at risk for serious complications, and had to attain one in Florida.

Long-term Outlook of Abortion Restrictions

In addition to the growing number of women deciding not to get pregnant because of maternal health concerns, the long-term impacts of abortion bans and restrictions are expected to be significant and far reaching, affecting generations of families as they contend with unexpected and unmanageable expenses, additional healthcare challenges, and according to the National Institute of Health, “negative outcomes in mental health and aspirational life plans.”

 

Furthermore, abortion restrictions don’t necessarily mean an end to abortions—instead, the National Institute of Health anticipates an uptick in unsafe abortions, and likewise, an elevated level of care from acute surgeons seeing patients suffering from complications of self-managed terminations.

 

It’s a reproductive rights disaster.

What exactly is femtech?

Femtech, short for feminine technology, refers to “electronic software, or other technology relating to women’s health” according to Cambridge Dictionary, just like the term “fintech” refers to the intersection of finance and technology, and “biotech,” short for biotechnology, involves natural science and technology.

 

According to Sophie Bakshi of Choice Compass, “the main focus of femtech is to use technology to solve the gender inequalities that exist in today’s healthcare system.”

The Women’s Health Gap Demands Attention

According to Closing the Women’s Health Gap: A $1 Trillion Opportunity to Improve Lives and Economies, a report from the World Economic Forum and the McKinsey Health Institute, “despite living longer than men on average, women spend 24% more of their lives in poor health.”

 

In addition to the gender bias inherent in the Roe v. Wade reversal, as mentioned above, the disparities in healthcare reveal themselves in how pain is treated, the time it takes to get a diagnosis, and the lack of preventative care in women.

Biased Studies, and Long-standing Misperceptions

While scientific studies have historically focused on men, and assumed women’s bodies, sans reproductive differences, work the same—which has resulted in a lack of healthcare data—the biases in women’s healthcare are also steeped in perception.

 

After all, according to Concern USA, it wasn’t all that long ago that Hysterical Neurosis or hysteria, which was often used as a catchall term for many health concerns made by women, was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Femtech is Changing Healthcare for Women

The field of femtech empowers women with better access to healthcare resources, personalized health insights and improved health outcomes, ultimately striving to close the gender gap in medical research and healthcare services.

 

By leveraging technology, femtech companies address unique health challenges faced by women, providing solutions that are tailored to their specific needs and enhancing the overall quality of care and information available to them.

A Variety of Pro-Woman Developments

Widely considered a fairly new field—though women have been in the trenches, dealing with period pains, infertility, labor questions and menopause, for as long as they’ve existed—femtech is making significant strides.

 

From the availability of Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill; to the development of Thyia, a smear test alternative to cervical cancer screening; to the widespread marketing and success of the Rosy app, which offers a holistic approach to sexual health and wellness, femtech is being developed for every stage of a woman’s evolution, from pre-pubescent girls to post-menopausal women, offering strategies, insights and openness in a field that has been mostly cloistered until now.

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Women Pioneers are Redefining the Health Care Dialogue

Spearheading many of these initiatives are women, who are stepping into previously and literally unmentionable territory, normalizing the vocabulary for women-specific health issues as well as female bodies.

 

From boardrooms to social media reels, women are explaining to everyone from investors to viewers what they’ve known all along, that women’s health care is and should be a priority, and that women deserve the technology, innovation, investments and vocabulary required to fill the gaps in gender inequality.

Trailblazers in Awareness

And though femtech itself is where feminine health and technology intersect, the growth of the field goes hand in hand with the growing awareness of women’s reproductive health care.

 

On the non-technology side, we’re seeing everything from daytime talk shows and Hollywood personalities like Drew Barrymore and Oprah discussing menopause; individual women like Gina Lamanna of The Fondle Project creating movements about self-touch and self-diagnosis in the breast cancer world based on her own experience, or Dr. Jennifer Hintzsche, Ph.D., who created Pherdal based on her experience with infertility; and doctors like Mary Claire Haver and Kelly Casperson stepping into the roles as menopause and reproductive health social media influencers.

Femtech is Growing in Scope, and in Financial Investment

While innovative and hugely necessary, femtech isn’t a perfect field. There are issues around data privacy and security; accessibility and affordability in diverse populations; and potential risks associated with self-diagnosis.

Yet even with these imperfections, the femtech field is striving to do what no field has done before—provide systems, tools, and devices that are equitable among all women. Even where there are imperfections, such as data security issues among period trackers (an enormous issue in a post-Roe landscape), women are stepping up to remedy them. Women like Anna Hall, who founded Embody, a private-by-default period tracking app, in 2022.

“It was literally the day after Roe was overturned—it was my anniversary—and I was so mad. And that’s when I had the idea of an encrypted wellness app,” says Hall.

Like many others in the femtech space, Hall keeps rolling with the punches, working day in and out for the betterment of women while continuing to seek funding. Fortunately, she and other founders are getting the money they need to keep growing.

 

“The women’s health innovation space is finally getting the attention it needs and deserves,” says Kathrin Folkendt of FemTech Insider.

Femtech Funding on the Rise

While according to a McKinsey Report, there’s previously been an “underinvestment in women’s health research from the public, social and private sectors,” it continues to point out that “in the past four years, women’s health newcomers received $2.2 billion in funding and that some 60 percent of the top deals exclusively addressed women’s health, specifically endometriosis, fertility, and maternal and neonatal health.”

 

From the $200 million recently donated by Melinda French Gates to fight for gender and reproductive rights in the US (BBC News), to the growing list of 150+ venture capital funds actively investing in women’s health and femtech (Women of Wearables), women’s healthcare is growing, and expected to continue on that trend.

 

According to the Femtech Analytics, “by 2025, the global FemTech market is projected to be almost 2 times larger than it was in 2020, and it is expected to exceed $75 billion.”

How will this affect me?

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As femtech evolves, its impact expands beyond technological advancements and financial growth. It directly addresses real-life issues that women face, from urinary tract infections and yeast infections to reduced libido and post-mastectomy care.

 

These innovations don’t just offer solutions, they empower women to take control of their healthcare in ways that were unimaginable just a few short years ago.

 

Critically, the rise of femtech fosters conversations about women’s health that were previously relegated to whispered conversations. These discussions aren’t just limited to private homes, but are increasingly visible in social media feeds, television programs and public forums.

 

This openness helps dismantle long-standing taboos surrounding women’s health issues.

Healthy Women Mean Healthy Communities

By promoting a culture of transparency and education, femtech helps women feel more comfortable sharing their experiences, ultimately leading to better outcomes. As Deloitte notes, healthier women and children contribute to more productive and better-educated communities.

 

Femtech isn’t just about cutting-edge technology; it’s about creating a supportive environment where women’s health is prioritized and openly discussed. By enhancing public awareness and encouraging conversations about topics like periods, postpartum wellness, and breast health, femtech plays a crucial role in improving overall community well-being.

 

This movement towards greater awareness and acceptance benefits everyone, making it a significant step forward in the journey towards comprehensive healthcare for all.

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Which Brings Me to Marketing for Femtech

The biases in women’s healthcare expand even to the marketing that surrounds the field. In addition to less funding, tighter budgets and quicker ramp-ups, women in marketing face the added pressure of competing in a male-dominated field. And yet, according to Kantar, brands are failing to connect meaningfully with women, missing out when they don’t accurately represent real women.

 

In the rapidly evolving femtech industry, effectively reaching and engaging your target audience is essential. Marketing and copywriting play a crucial role in bridging the gap between solutions, and the women who need them. Understanding your audience and crafting compelling copy is vital for your success.

So what exactly is Copywriting?

Copywriting, as opposed to something that is copyrighted, is the art and science of writing text (which we call copy) for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The text is meant to encourage someone to take a specific action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, following a brand on social media or joining a class. Good copywriting is clear, concise, and compelling, focusing on the needs and desires of the audience.

The Role of the Copywriter

A professional femtech copywriter brings several key benefits to their clients:

 

1. Audience Understanding: Copywriting isn’t just piecing together some pretty sentences. Copywriters excel at researching and understanding target markets. For femtech, this means delving into the specific needs, concerns, and desires of women looking for health and wellness solutions. By speaking their language and addressing their pain points, copywriters can create content that deeply resonates.

2. Clear Messaging: Femtech solutions can be complex and technical. A femtech copywriter helps distill this information into clear, accessible language that your audience can easily understand. This is crucial for educating potential customers about the benefits of your product or service without inundating them with industry jargon.

 

3. Emotional Connection: People make purchasing decisions based on both logic, and emotion. Femtech copywriters craft stories and messages that connect on an emotional level, making your product not just a purchase, but a solution to a problem they care deeply about.

 

4. Consistency: Maintaining a consistent voice and message across all your marketing materials builds trust and brand recognition. A copywriter ensures that all your content, from website copy to marketing collateral, aligns with your brand’s voice and values.

 

5. Conversion Optimization: Ultimately, the goal of copywriting is to drive action. Whether it’s encouraging women to try a new health app or purchase a hormone-free skincare product, copywriters use proven techniques to boost conversions. This includes crafting calls to action, optimizing headlines and creating persuasive product descriptions.

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Why it Matters

Many femtech and reproductive health professionals are used to communicating with investors or shareholders, which often involves detailed technical explanations and financial justifications. However, when it comes to marketing to consumers, the approach needs to shift. Here’s why:

 

  • Different Audience, Different Language: Investors are interested in market potential, scalability, and return on investment. But they aren’t your customers. Consumers care about how your product will solve their problems, improve their lives, and fit into their routines. Speaking directly to their needs and using language they relate to is crucial.

  • Building Trust and Credibility: Women need to trust that your product is safe, effective, and designed with their unique needs in mind. Effective copywriting builds this trust by providing clear, honest information and highlighting the benefits and testimonials from other users.

  • Empowering Women: Femtech products often empower women to take control of their health and well-being. Femtech copywriters emphasize this empowerment, making women feel confident and informed in their decision to use your product. 

 

By prioritizing effective marketing and copywriting, femtech companies can better connect with their audience, build lasting relationships and ultimately drive growth and success. Engaging professional copywriting is an investment in your brand’s ability to communicate its value and vision to the world.

Working with Me

As a copywriter and marketing strategist, I help femtech businesses and reproductive healthcare practitioners craft content that speaks uniquely to their audience’s challenges, in language that respects the consumer and helps innovators get known in the marketplace. My expertise lies in understanding the unique needs of women and creating narratives that resonate with them.

 

While each project is customized, my holistic three-step copywriting process, HER, involves:

 

1. Harvest

The research and discovery portion of the process begins with my customized copywriting questionnaire, a kickoff call, and significant research including client interviews, data mining, competitor and voice of customer deep-dives.

 

2. Express

Once I’ve completed my research and put together an outline, the writing process begins, fully aligned with your brand’s messaging and voice of your customer.

 

3. Reach

After two rounds of edits, your copy is proofread and finalized. I’ll walk you through all of it, along with a copy wireframe, so you’re relaxed and ready to go before it reaches the world.

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