The future is FemTech: what’s next for women’s health in 2024?

Women Doctor and Patient


Roya Ziaie, Senior Account Director at Incisive Health

This year’s International Women’s Day is focusing on how we can inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion. In health, this means empowering women to have agency over their own health, addressing the gender research gap, and ensuring clinicians take women’s symptoms seriously.

Although not a panacea, FemTech (female technology) can play a critical role in driving forward progress on all of the above.

Empowering women through tech

In the age of ever-increasing misinformation, technology for women, often created by women, is enabling users to make more informed choices about their own health– often in the face of healthcare services that don’t offer them that luxury.

From AI-led apps to guide ovulation tracking, wearables targeting better management of the postpartum stage, and at-home diagnostics that provide a clearer picture of fertility, it’s no surprise that women are jumping at the chance to tap into more personalised health information in increasingly accessible ways.

Addressing the gender research gap

The increased engagement with digital tools for health and wellbeing support is likewise generating an abundance of data that organisations can use to identify ways to better address the needs of underserved or marginalised populations.

Engagement often stretches beyond the populations that might typically engage in clinical trials, creating a positive feedback loop that enables these rich datasets to inform an increasingly personalised experience for the user based around their needs.

Women’s health is continually underrepresented in research and development, with only one per cent of global health care research spending going towards female-specific conditions outside of cancer. The data created by FemTech has the potential to drastically improve the ‘gender data gap’ – ensuring more inclusive data to drive improvements in healthcare for women.

Ensuring clinicians take women’s symptoms seriously

A data-driven approach to health not only addresses wider research gaps but allows women to create a clearer picture of their own health that can help to overcome persistent gender bias in the clinic.

A survey of over 100,000 women led by the UK Government recently showed that 84% of women felt there were times when they were not listened to by healthcare professionals. These disparate health outcomes and experiences are poorer still in more disadvantaged women, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Digital tools that allow women to track signs and symptoms over time, as well as providing opportunities to share and connect with others, can equip women with a powerful tool in consultations with healthcare professionals and enable better navigation of the health system.

Digital inclusion rather than exclusion

FemTech has opened a new realm of possibility for women’s healthcare, but to be truly inclusive we need to recognise that not every woman has the same experience when accessing digital tools and technology.

For example, apps may need to be useable offline, or require minimal data storage, to be accessible to women and girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who may not have access to a regular internet connection.

There are also data biases to navigate as we increasingly employ AI technologies in healthcare, with a global analysis showing that 44% of AI systems displayed gender bias, and 25% showed both gender and racial bias. All the FemTech in the world can’t drive change if the very foundations are built on unrepresentative datasets.

There is clearly more to be done to cross the digital divide, and this is where policy development can help to advocate for and incentivise keeping inclusivity at the forefront of new developments for women’s health.