The need for gender inclusivity in Femtech products

Patricia Cervantes
July 2023

Femtech has seen huge investment and growth in recent years, and helped to reduce an equity gap in healthcare by developing innovative products that improve health and empower users.

However, is the term inclusive? Or does the “Fem” prefix render it somewhat divisive?

In this insight piece we’ll look at the wider context, how gender inclusivity can be improved, and consider a future where ‘Femtech’ may simply become ‘tech’.

The origin of Femtech

The term “Femtech” was first coined in 2016 by entrepreneur Ida Tin. In the course of just a few years it has grown to encompass a wide range of technology-enabled, consumer-centric products and solutions.

Indeed it could be argued that one of the first Femtech startups was Glow, a period and ovulation tracking app, created in 2013, which became exceptionally popular.

The sector provides a wide range of solutions to improve healthcare across a number conditions, including maternal health, menstrual health, pelvic and sexual health, fertility, menopause, and contraception (as well as a number of general health conditions).

Is it exclusionary?

It’s crucial to recognise that gender inclusivity can play a pivotal role in the development and accessibility of these products.

Gender inclusivity means creating products, services, and experiences that consider the diverse needs, identities, and experiences of individuals across the gender spectrum.

In the context of Femtech, it means acknowledging that women's health is not a monolithic concept and not all individuals who can benefit from these technologies identify as women.

It’s important to develop products and communications that are sensitive to the needs of transgender men, non-binary individuals, and others who may have unique requirements related to reproductive health, sexual wellness, and overall wellbeing.

Breaking binary barriers

Historically, healthcare and technology have been rooted in a binary understanding of gender. This binary approach has often overlooked the experiences and needs of individuals who do not fit neatly into traditional gender categories.

Transgender individuals, especially transgender men, face unique challenges related to healthcare, including reproductive health and family planning. Femtech products that are designed with gender inclusivity in mind can help bridge this gap. For instance, period tracking apps that allow users to customise their experiences, fertility trackers that account for hormonal changes during hormone therapy, or inclusive language that acknowledges the diverse user base, can all contribute to a more inclusive sector.

Logan Brown: ‘I’m a pregnant trans man and I do exist’.

While non-binary individuals, who may not identify as male or female, also deserve consideration. Tailoring tech to be more inclusive in terms of language, design, and features can ensure that everyone can align with them and benefit from them.

Consideration for every user

Gender inclusivity in Femtech goes beyond acknowledging and catering to transgender and non-binary individuals. It also involves considering the diverse experiences and needs within the female population. Women come from various backgrounds, cultures, and have different life stages, including pregnancy, menopause, and postpartum.

As such, it’s important to create user-centred products, by carrying out primary research and user testing with all types of prospective users, in order to ensure that everyone is catered to.

Improving data collection

Gender inclusivity in Femtech is not just about product development but also about improving research and data collection practices.

Historically, medical research has disproportionately focused on cisgender men, resulting in limited knowledge and understanding of women's health. By including a more diverse range of participants, Femtech companies can contribute to the collection of valuable data, leading to better insights, tailored solutions, and improved health outcomes for all.

Gender inclusivity within NHS solutions

We carried out the discovery and design phase for the NHS England hepatitis C self-test service, in which we pushed for inclusivity within the personal details section of the process, to allow users to identify as female, male, non-binary, self-defined, or prefer not to say. This represents an improvement from the status quo and platforms of the past, and helps to ensure that the experience is user-friendly for every type of user.

Less "fem" more "them"

Where possible, it’s always better to use non-gendered language. If the topic at hand is not relevant to gender identity then ‘women’ can be easily substituted for 'people going through menopause' or 'users', for example.

In time, the term ‘Femtech’ may simply become ‘tech’, and product nomenclature may align more with function (e.g. fertility) than with a gender label.

In the meantime, we can be mindful to be inclusive in our user research, product design, user testing, and language, wherever possible and relevant.

By acknowledging gender diversity and responding to it, we actively decide to try to understand the diversity of users to a greater degree, which leads to better products and experiences. This in turn leads to a more equitable approach for the industry and beyond.

As product creators and managers we have to strive to meet the needs of all users, and this is a key way in which we can all look to learn, improve, and accommodate, wherever useful.  

If you would like to know more, or talk about primary research and product design that is user-centred, then please email us at

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