As there are in any industry, there are a number of obstacles standing between today and the future of femtech. Here are two major challenges worth paying attention to:
There are a lot of social issues swirling around the very term “femtech”. The tech solutions on offer don’t just apply to women, or even the broader category of women-identifying people; not all people with female-assigned reproductive systems identify as women. That’s why there’s a push toward more inclusive language that doesn’t alienate trans, nonbinary, and gender-conforming people who may very well benefit from tools that currently fall into the femtech family. There is also an argument to be made that designating femtech as its own separate category is exclusionary; highlighting tech created for women as outside the “norm” of other medical technology tools positions the people who use femtech as other.
Beauty industry pros who work in femtech should be sensitive to these topics and follow closely as the lexicon evolves. Making sure to use inclusive language whenever possible will allow you to call in the myriad of people who might benefit from using your products and services.
The investment question
One of the biggest challenges facing the femtech industry is the question of investment. According to Crunchbase, 80% of femtech founders are women. Imagine those pitch meetings; female founders talking about period blood, lactation, and ovarian health in front of a panel of the men who hold the purse strings. The image may be an exaggeration — not all femtech companies are run by women and not all investors are men — but it’s a common refrain in the industry.
Due to a huge range of social and cultural forces, women are also less likely to ask for funding. The combination of female founders either not asking or asking for less and the stigma associated with the female-assigned reproductive system makes bringing femtech companies to fruition an uphill battle.