While 50% of our global population are women, the women’s health market represents a mere 0.3% of the $10 trillion spent on health annually.
As scientists now agree that women’s health patterns are very different from men’s, the opportunity for products and services that cater to women is enormous. Women want (and need) better health information and services at each stage of their lives, yet female health remains vastly underfunded and underserved.
The lack of historical research focused on female health contracts with – and is sometimes a cause of – the higher risk that women face with some of the most challenging conditions. Autoimmune diseases, for example, affect approximately 8% of the global population, but 78% of those affected are women. Women are 3x more likely than males to develop rheumatoid arthritis and 4x more likely to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system. These male-female disparities are present across the medical world – for pathologies like Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, or chronic pain conditions. The innate differences between males and females, and the deficiencies in research, have sometimes led to terrible consequences. 80% of the drugs removed from the US market from 1997 to 2000 were withdrawn because of side effects that occurred mainly or exclusively in women.
This major medical discrepancy is the root of the “femtech” movement, which defines a group of technological products and services designed to support and advance women’s health. These include fertility solutions, period and fertility tracking apps, reproductive system health care, women’s sexual wellness products, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and nursing care, period care goods, at-home fertility monitoring devices, or next-generation breast pumps.