From period tracking devices and birth control apps, to feminist chatbots, women are making their mark on the tech industry. Period-related technology and the wider world of ‘Femtech’ is one of the fastest growing areas in the technology sector.
By 2025, the market is anticipated to be worth $50bn (£39bn) and the likelihood is that it will only expand from there. Let’s take a closer look at what Femtech entails, and what products you could use the bring your period into the digital age.
What is Femtech?
As period management technology is a recent trend in the tech industry, we are seeing more and more interesting revelations every day and women are proving to be pioneers within this field. The taboos surrounding periods are finally lifting, and this is allowing for a plethora of exciting innovations that we didn’t even know we needed! There are now plenty of digital products to try. From birth control options to monitoring signs of first period, we now have access to apps and trackers that help us better manage and maintain our periods.
Before recent years, female-led tech companies were few and far between. However, we’re now seeing more and more strong women, trans, and non-binary people enter this innovative field, ready to make inspiring changes. This movement has been named, ‘Femtech’ — a new wave of technological innovation. The term was first coined by Ida Tin, founder of the menstruation tracker app Clue, and has since been used to describe a surge of female-led businesses in the tech sector.
How can Femtech help you manage your period?
Nowadays, there is an abundance of period-management and women’s health devices and apps on the market. Here are a few of the most popular options:
Bellabeat creates beautiful leaf-themed jewellery, elegant watches, and even stylish smart water bottles that double up as impressive wellness trackers. Their delicate products can be easily incorporated into your wardrobe without looking too techy, and they can track your physical activity, sleep patterns, stress levels, and your menstrual cycle. This product also offers guided meditation exercises to train and calm your mind.
This tech start-up was established by biomedical engineer, Ridhi Tariyal, with the ambition to give women the power to test their menstrual blood at home if they are concerned about conditions such as endometriosis and cervical cancer. Their products are still in the testing stage, but there are certainly big things on the horizon.
This tracking system defines itself as ‘hormone-free contraception’. This company is more focussed on smart birth control methods than general period tracking, and they offer a healthy and reliant contraception method that relies on data rather than hormones. Natural Cycles’ algorithm-based fertility tracker works by referring to your basal body temperature (BBT). Just before ovulation, a woman’s blood temperature is usually around 36 degrees Celsius, but it will see a very slight increase when an egg is released, allowing the tracker to know when you are at your most fertile.
This user-friendly free app was first developed by Ida Tin in 2013 and has since been ranked as one of TIME’s 50 genius companies of 2018. It allows users to monitor a cycle, not only by recording when you begin and finish your period, but by allowing you to monitor all of your symptoms during each cycle.
All these innovations allow women to take back control of their periods, as well as their personal health and wellbeing. The breakthrough of women in tech and the incredible period-management solutions that have so far come from it are incredible to behold, but we are still at the beginning of this journey. Currently, for example, only 22% of the people building AI right now are female, so working to make sure our tech is still fully inclusive is an uphill battle. However, we are certainly on the right path to a balanced tech industry and a brand-new array of products to help better manage women’s health.