The truth is that this term was born to define the technology startups that create women-centred health products. Today, however, the term encompasses much more: it is a broader phenomenon that links feminism and technology.
Technology has historically been a field dominated by men but with time this has begun to change.
The term femtech, short for "female technology," was coined by Ida Tin, founder of the Clue app, which allows women to track things like their weight, mood, sleep, energy, cravings and bleeding. The app has done so well that it is expected to have a market value of $50 billion by 2025, according to research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Not just health and sexuality
The companies and associations that are part of the femtech fight are known as STEM companies (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Their fight is to eradicate the gender gap in the technology sector and promote the participation of women in careers.
Although femtech is growing, there are many other spaces where female technologists are making room to make sure that technology works for everyone, one such space is voice technology. Charlotte Webb is an ethical technology consultant who founded the Feminist Internet, a nonprofit organization that aims to fight technological and Internet inequalities.
Webb, who began her career as an academic and an artist, wanted to change the way the technology sector not only discriminates against women in the workplace but also in the products we use every day. It's very important to make sure that the technology we interact with is not sexist, racist or homophobic, which is why they designed a guide to build a feminist chatbot.
European femtech startups
Within the emerging range of digital technologies specifically focused on women's health, several startups have done their part in providing the best technology-driven medical care to women in the form of medical treatment and prevention... Here are a few examples:
Another woman who has greatly influenced this femtech scenario is Tania Boler, founder of Elvie, a company that sells two products: the first, launched in 2014, is a pelvic floor trainer that allows women to do Kegel exercises (repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that are part of the pelvic floor) and connects by Bluetooth to the phone so that subscribers can follow their progress. Last September, they launched their second product, a wireless, portable, hands-free breast pump that debuted with a humorous ad.
Founded in 2017 in London, Syrona is a women's digital technology platform that helps women manage their own gynaecological health at home through a subscription. The platform can monitor female problems in three areas: fertility, endometriosis and gynaecological cancers.
Aspivix is an innovative women's care company from Lausanne, Switzerland. They provide clinics and hospitals with a single-use, painless device as a replacement for the medieval and painful forceps still used in standard gynaecological examinations. They promise their female patients a "new generation of surgical instruments for softer, more modern gynaecological procedures. Founded in 2015, the startup has raised more than $3 million in funds in several rounds of funding.
Founded in Madrid in 2016, this Spanish startup has raised a total of $1.3 million. It is a data-driven application designed to maximize the chances of pregnancy because between 17% and 25% of couples struggle with fertility problems. The WOOM application provides personalized recommendations, a schedule of cycles calculates the daily chances of pregnancy and provides users with ongoing support through a committed community and fertility service platform. The application can be downloaded at Apple stores and Google Play.