It’s hard to imagine something as ordinary as the washing machine revolutionizing society. But when this machine arrived, more than 100 years ago, the lives of women changed forever. No longer did they spend days washing, wringing, and drying laundry. This backbreaking chore that used to take days now took hours, with the machine doing most of the work.
Technology gave them the thing they needed most – time. They used this time to read, get out of the house, go back to school, join the workforce and become a driving force in the economy. More innovations followed: refrigerators, disposable diapers, electrical irons, sanitary pads and tampons, and microwaves. Women’s liberation could arguably be traced to technological innovations.
The #Femtech Movement
Now technology focuses on another issue dear to all women – health. With many governments deciding to defund programs focusing on women’s health, high tech may provide the only solution. These days the latest innovations tend to be apps rather than something tangible but they still seek to empower women. With more than 1.1 billion dollars in funding since 2014, technology for women is posed to revolutionize women’s health.
Women make up half the global population. According to the Harvard Business Review women represent 72.8 percent of all consumer purchasing either directly or through influence. Yet, until recently, start-ups revolving around women’s health issues had a difficult time finding funding. The reason is simple though disappointing: “The (Silicon) Valley is dominated by men and pitching a period-tracking app to a testosterone-filled room can be intimidating,” says Venturebeat. That mentality began to change, however, when two companies emerged onto the scene in 2013.
Examples from #Femtech
Glow, a period- and ovulation-tracking app, introduced by Max Levchin who is cofounder of Paypal, and Ida Tin’s Clue, a Berlin based period-tracking app, were the first to break the barrier and set a new standard for technology aimed at women. These companies are blazing a trail for revolutionary new women’s products around the globe. Tin is, in fact, credited with coining the term ‘Femtech’ and for launching the Femtech movement.
Products within the Femtech sector revolve around issues related to women’s health and center around giving women freedom – freedom to make choices regarding their bodies and the confidence to discuss issues that for years have been considered taboo. These include fertility solutions and monitoring devices, reproductive care, sexual wellness, menstruation, and general healthcare.
The shocking numbers of women dealing with urine loss
Among the issues of great need for many women is urinary incontinence. Though many would rather not talk about it, urinary incontinence is more common than people realize. In fact, a nine-year study by the UC Davis Medical Center, analyzed data from 3,000 women ages 42-64. They found that 68 percent of women experience some form of incontinence at least once a month. Many women feel it’s just a normal consequence of having children, something they just have to learn to live with. Most are embarrassed to talk with their doctors about treatment options and feel the only solution is to prevent leaks by wearing thick panty liners or pads.
Once again technology can offer a solution. In 2015, Lifesense Group, a start-up combining design and technology, created Carin to revolutionize how women deal with urine loss. It’s the only product on the market that offers the unique combination of wearable technology with a solution to solve, not just cover up, urine loss.
High Tech for the Pelvic Floor
This product allows women to wear beautiful underwear that manages urine leaks with the absorbing power of a big tampon. What’s even better is that Carin doesn’t just help protect, it also helps prevent urine loss by providing women with a way to
measure and strengthen pelvic health. The smart underwear comes with a tracker that
measures leak amounts and is partnered with an app that guides the user through a series of pelvic floor exercises.
Following this exercise program 10 minutes a day for four to six weeks significantly strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, leading to zero urine loss. Each day women can monitor their progress by using the tracker to show urine loss data. This technology allows women to measure and monitor their health in a non-obtrusive way.
The new generation of Carin will be launched in November at the medical exhibition Medica (Find us in Hall 15 / A23).
Empowering women everyday
Carin and all Femtech products are designed to give women power and control over their own health. These products allow women to monitor their health and make their own decisions. There may even be a time when women can rely on apps for other essential medical needs such as birth control or breast cancer screening. There may never be a time when apps replace doctors, but the more preventative care women can do for themselves the less power will be in the hands of politicians deciding the fates of their bodies.