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Femtech In 2021: Trends and Opportunities In Women's Health Technology The idea behind femtech is not only to earn profits, but also focus on solving problems faced by women

By Vikas Bagaria

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In recent years, we have seen greater emphasis on women empowerment and usage of technology to improve life experience for them and resolve their problems. Femtech sector companies are using technology and innovation to create products and healthcare solutions specific to women. The idea behind femtech is not only to earn profits, but also focus on solving problems faced by women. Usually, the whole process of product development and validation involves women to ensure effectiveness.

A report by Emergen Research pegs the estimated global market size for femtech to be around $60.01 billion by 2027. The demand is being boosted by the growing awareness about the burden of chronic and infectious diseases by women all over the world. Another key factor is the growing attention being given to the reproductive health and sexual empowerment of women in the developing economies such as India. There is also the growing presence of female workforce in the technical domain which is playing a key role in developing technologically innovative healthcare and hygiene solutions for women.

As of now, there are more than 200 femtech startups globally and many of them are entirely or partly led by women. Some of the key focus areas targeted by femtech are menstruation, pregnancy and infant care, sexual health and hygiene, etc. In a country like India where women's rights and needs get very little focus, the evolution of femtech and rising awareness about such products can transform their quality of life.

Being a large and multi-cultural country, India also faces problems such as urban-rural divide, demographic issues and social taboos which lead to asymmetric access across regions. Women's healthcare subjects especially those related to fertility, menstruation, intimate hygiene, birth control and sexual wellness are considered taboo to even discuss. However, the entry of femtech brands is now ushering in an era of affordable and accessible solutions which will benefit women in the urban as well as the rural areas.

A major challenge faced by the Indian healthcare industry is the lack of access to diagnostic equipment and consumables. Whether it is the prenatal screening or diagnosis of UTI and health ailments such as cancer and diabetes, there is a lack of screening facilities. A lot of startups are now working towards plugging the gap through innovation. For instance, there are portable pocket-sized ultrasound machines which have helped a lot of women patients in rural India in managing their pregnancies. Companies are creating low-cost screening devices to diagnose problems such as breast cancer and cervical screening. Some of the devices are being developed as an alternative to mammography which is the main diagnostic test for breast cancer.

Femtech companies in India are also focusing on spreading awareness about reproductive health and menstrual hygiene issues. Going beyond the sanitary pads, they are now offering products such as menstrual cups, breast pads, breast pumps, and intimate hygiene as well as menstrual relief products which can help women remain comfortable during periods, and other critical times of life.

The evolution of femtech is going to be incredibly impactful as it will make healthcare minimally invasive, less intrusive, practical, personalized and affordable to suit Indian needs. The companies operating in this sphere are integrating technologies such as AI, big data and analytics to improve the outcome. The growth of the sector is also leading to a surge in the investments in the sector and it is estimated that the Femtech industry will receive investments of more than $9 billion by 2024.

The trends and technological developments as observed here are going to be a win-win scenario for all stakeholders in the post-pandemic world. The femtech companies are bound to benefit by remaining true to their cause and enhancing the devices, products and apps that they are currently offering and this advancement will in turn make things more comfortable for women across India. With the country housing one of the largest female populations in the world, the potential is immense and there is no doubt that the awareness about such products and applications will soon catapult femtech to the next level in India in the years ahead.

Vikas Bagaria

Founder of Pee Safe

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