By Ravi Ramachandran
What is Femtech?
‘Femtech’ is the term coined by a Danish entrepreneur Ida Tin in the year 2016, but it is still an indefinite concept to many. To put it simply, Femtech is the use of a combination of science & advanced technology to introduce products, services, wearables, and software that address various health and wellness needs of women. From Clue by Ida Tin – the period tracking app, to Acne Healing Patch by Nua – a science-backed skincare product that helps to get rid of period-caused acne, the Femtech market is striving to raise awareness for women’s individualized needs based on their menstrual cycle/hormonal changes. Indeed, also a $22 billion worth industry that is currently disrupting the healthcare sector in several ways.
What is Menstrual Hygiene & Menstrual Wellness?
Menstrual Hygiene is the accessibility of basic menstrual solutions such as a product to absorb the flow of blood followed by clean hygiene facilities to change or easy disposal of the used products. Whereas Menstrual Wellness is a woman’s need to find wellness during her menstrual cycle. This refers to a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being depending on her cycle and its individual needs.
The Vicious Circle Of Menstrual Taboos in India
India has a history of menstrual taboos which with different cultures are still manifested in various complicated manners. The first and foremost factor that stigmatizes menstruation is its long-term association with words like disgust, shame, dirt and fear. India is a diverse country. The teachings passed down to generations and the rituals we follow, also come with a belief that the blood women shed during their cycle is unclean and women are therefore impure to be around. Hence, in many communities they are banished and segregated too. Owing to this, there still persists a culture of silence which further leads to a lack of education and awareness. And ultimately this lack of education and accessibility to basic menstrual hygiene products remains to be a major problem for women in India.
The dawn of Female Technology
Women’s health is finally having its moment in the industry, and it’s safe to say that currently, the spotlight is on stigmatized, yet most important health needs such as menstrual health, sexual health maternal health, menopause, and so on. What has led to this is nothing but the rise of female technology and the she-economy through which our nation is witnessing the growth of various brands and services such as Nua, Get Rael, Hims & Hers etc. These brands are consistently striving to raise awareness through science-backed products and technology-led services to address women’s healthcare needs. With primary offerings and services, brands like Nua are also trying different applications like social media engagement and campaigns, community advocacy, personalized engagement and period guides/education through blogs on their own website. These technology-led applications are the factors that help in breaking the barriers and overcoming the taboos by providing a safe and judgment-free platform for women to learn more and take care of their issues/concerns.
Femtech innovations reshaping the picture of menstrual wellness
Here are some innovative healthcare and hygiene solutions by Fem-tech brands that are paving the way for this emerging industry :
More than 70 percent of women experience varying degrees of period cramps but there is no real solution offered to them to manage the pain. Nua as one of the leading Femtech brands have introduced products like Cramp Comfort Heat Patches that emit soothing heat for up to 8 hours and give relief from cramps, whereas Nua’s Customisable Sanitary Pads are designed to suit different flow patterns. These products are further offered on an auto-repeat plan so that customers can receive them at their doorstep without much effort.
Rael, is a US based company, founded by three women originally from South Korea. The women entrepreneurs after discovering that most of the pads and tampons in the US contain harsh chemicals or natural ingredients They decided to merge organic non-toxic clean products available in the US with cutting edge korean manufacturing technology to provide women with period, skin and intimate care products.
Cora is an online subscription based platform with a complete product focus on period care. Their product offerings include sanitary pads, tampons, period innerwear, liners, cups, care products and more. Their subscribers get customized packages every three months based on their preferences, flow and desired comfort. With every purchase they claim to provide resources to women who would otherwise go without such period care.
(The author is Founder and CEO Nua. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)