Breaking the Silence: Empowering Women's Mental Health
The industry is bridging the gender health gap and addressing women’s health issues that have largely been neglected in the past.
WRITTEN BY ANKITA VASHISTHA
PUBLISHED JAN 30, 2023
Women’s health is center stage now and is seeing myriad of innovations, designed to support, improve and promote women’s health and wellness. The industry is bridging the gender health gap and addressing women’s health issues that have largely been neglected in the past. Currently, less than 2.5% of publicly funded research in the UK is dedicated solely to reproductive health, subject to gender bias, with five-fold more studies about erectile dysfunction than premenstrual syndrome, despite the latter affecting 90% of women.
The significant growth of the Femtech industry is capturing the attention of both consumers and employers as women make up roughly half of the world’s population. Women also make 90% of primary health care decisions for their families, the demand for femtech solutions continues to rise. The market size reached USD 30 billion in 2022, and it's projected to expand at a CAGR of over 16% to reach USD 133 billion by 2032. By 2025, the femtech sector is expected to have more than 3000 app-based women's health products. A key factor in these startups' success is the leadership of female founders, whose personal journeys and experiences have driven their passion for creating meaningful solutions. This authentic connection to the challenges faced by women has been instrumental in gaining the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Women’s issues center around menstrual health, fertility, family planning, pregnancy, postpartum care and mental health. Women face unique health challenges, particularly mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. This is due to several factors, including gender discrimination in the workplace, work-life balance issues, and societal expectations and pressures that deem women as caregivers, which can contribute to the development of mental health issues. The primary areas of focus are:
Reproductive and sexual health solutions: Innovations in reproductive and sexual health include fertility tracking and planning apps, AI to help women monitor their menstrual cycles and detect potential health concerns, and telemedicine services for confidential and discreet consultations with healthcare professionals. A notable innovation globally is Nirmai, a low-cost, accurate solution for early breast cancer detection; LactApp, a breastfeeding app in Spain; and Ava, a developer of a multi-sensor fertility bracelets in Switzerland.
Maternal Health: Many startups are working to improve maternal health outcomes by developing products that help with prenatal and postpartum care. This includes solutions like telemedicine platforms for remote prenatal care, breastfeeding support apps, and postpartum recovery products. For instance, Maven Clinic is a digital health platform connecting women with maternal and family health specialists. It offers virtual appointments, messaging, and educational resources to improve access to care and reduce barriers to maternal healthcare.
Women’s general wellness: while most solutions to date have focused on women’s reproductive health, the industry is evolving beyond broader health issues that impact women differently, such as heart diseases, pain management, diabetes, weight gain, and behavioral health. For example, Noom is a mobile-based health and wellness platform that uses a behavior change approach to help users achieve their health goals. It offers personalized coaching, food database, tracking tools, and a unique color-coded system to make healthier food choices.
Women's mental health: Startups can develop products and services that cater to women's self-care needs, such as self-care apps, virtual support groups, and other wellness resources, taking into account the experiences of women of different ages, races, and cultural backgrounds by focusing on intersectional approaches. AI is enabling personalized care by analyzing large datasets to identify patterns and make predictions. This allows for better diagnosis and treatment options.
One such company is Aprilcares Health, a mental health startup that is making a difference in the lives of women. It is a gender-sensitive and culturally aware mental health solution that empowers women to address their unique challenges and stressors. It provides individuals and employers with affordable mental health self-care, creating a motivating learning experience based on behavioral science.
The Promise and Potential of Femtech Innovation and Investment
Femtech is a rapidly growing and lucrative industry that presents enormous potential for investors. With the increasing demand for personalized and female-centric healthcare solutions, the femtech market is poised for significant growth in the coming years. By leveraging technology and innovation, femtech companies can develop new and groundbreaking products and services that address the unique needs of women, from fertility and maternal health to sexual wellness and menopause. Investing in femtech not only provides the opportunity for financial returns, but also contributes to a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system for women.