Unequal health outcomes have been a reality for women throughout the world for far too long. But change is finally happening.
Early in February 2022, Thrive brought together some of the brightest global talent in femtech to discuss all things women’s health and the empowering potential of tech.
Our speakers were:
- Shirley Sylvester, Johnson & Johnson
- Aditi Hazra-Ganju, Saathhealth
- Rachel Misra, MSI Reproductive Choices
- Kathrin Folkendt, Femtech Insider
- Sandra Wirström, LEIA
- Caitlin Dalton and Daphne Metland, Thrive
You can still watch the webinar back – and these were the key takeaways.
- Improving medical care alone cannot ensure better health outcomes for women
Women’s health outcomes are affected by a broad spectrum of factors, including their social and economic status and physical environment. For example, in some parts of the world they’re nearly twice as likely to be illiterate than men and significantly less likely to use the internet. So it follows that the gender health gap can only be bridged by wider societal changes.
- The inequalities women face are not equal
The gender gap is wider for some. The barriers faced by women in lower income countries, and by particular groups in higher income countries, including older women, women from minority ethnic groups, those from LGBTQ+ communities, and women living with disabilities, are complex and deep. In the US, for example, Black women and birthing people are two to three times more likely to die in pregnancy or due to a childbirth-related cause than their white counterparts, regardless of education status.
- More women now work in tech – and this is fuelling change
Historically, it was a field dominated by men, but it’s opening up to female entrepreneurs and digital specialists. And this means products are being created that women really want and need.
- Innovation also offers opportunities to women delivering healthcare
Women stand to benefit from digital solutions not just in terms of receiving but by delivering essential healthcare too. They are the backbone of the global health workforce – in India alone, they make up over 49% of the total workforce.
- There’s more to femtech than fertility
Digital solutions focused on reproductive health are common… but there are a broader range of female-specific concerns and life stages still untapped, including postpartum mental wellbeing and polycystic ovary syndrome.
- To achieve success, it’s vital to get users involved
The co-creation process is vital to producing effective digital solutions. For example, the PM3 (Prevent Maternal Mortality Mobile) app was designed for and with Black women to help mothers manage their health after having a baby.
- Effective digital solutions need to be engaging as well as advanced
Good design and original content bring depth to digital solutions. This means using videos, graphics and interactive quizzes in local languages, and giving women opportunities to adapt content according to their life stage and health history.
- Digital platforms break barriers
Tech can empower women to get the information they need about taboo topics. In 2021, MSI Reproductive Choices had 2.7 million conversations about sexual and reproductive health, 42% of which came through social media. Over 3,000 users per month also engage with its digital contraception counsellor Choice.
- Human interaction is part of the digital journey
Real-life touchpoints are essential. Digital tools can encourage and push women towards essential social support and community resources – and help women feel more confident in these interactions.
Antonia is the Managing Editor at Thrive. She is responsible for overseeing our team of editors and delivering engaging health content.
For more insights on femtech and the future of women’s health, download our free white paper, Digital opportunities for women’s wellbeing, on the link below: