In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare technology in India, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of addressing women’s unique healthcare requirements. Women’s health is sometimes considered a niche market, when, in reality, it’s anything but.
Women make up 45%-50% of the Indian population, and their healthcare needs extend far beyond just maternal or reproductive care. This understanding has led to the emergence of Fem-Tech, a domain dedicated to leveraging technology to improve women’s wellbeing.
In a country where women’s healthcare needs have often been overlooked, Fem-Tech startups are leading the way as champions of change by offering innovative solutions. According to reports, women are 75% more likely than men to embrace digital healthcare tools, making FemTech a promising market. In fact, the sector has seen substantial growth, with global market estimates rising from US$ 18 billion in 2019 to a projected US$ 60 billion by 2027.
The women’s health landscape in India is a multifaceted one, characterised by both progress and ongoing challenges. Although we’ve made some headway in enhancing healthcare accessibility, there remain significant disparities and obstacles to overcome. These challenges encompass critical areas such as maternal mortality rates, menstrual hygiene, and sexual wellness. A major part of these disparities stem from limited access to information, deeply ingrained societal stigma surrounding women’s health, and inadequacies in our healthcare infrastructure.
Fem-Tech holds particular significance in the context of India, given its unique healthcare challenges and cultural nuances. In recent years, the FemTech landscape has witnessed a remarkable surge, fuelled by a growing awareness and demand for healthcare solutions tailored to women.
For example, more startups are pioneering technologies that address maternal health challenges such as pregnancy monitoring apps and telehealth services for expectant mothers, among others. Another great example is the innovation taking place in breast cancer screening and treatment, an area whose biggest challenge is late detection. Advancements in FemTech, such as the ability to detect thermal changes in breasts, are incredibly valuable solutions that help with early detection.
FemTech startups are also disrupting the menstrual hygiene market by offering sustainable and affordable products, along with educational resources for girls and women. Additionally, new-age entrepreneurs are fostering a more inclusive and accessible approach to sexual wellness through discreet consultation platforms, real-time data tracking, and personalised product offerings.
While Fem-Tech has tremendous potential, it faces its own set of challenges in India. Sociocultural factors and the stigma surrounding women’s health topics can create barriers to adoption. Bridging the digital divide is also a concern, as not everyone has access to smartphones or the internet. Furthermore, ensuring data privacy and security in the collection and storage of sensitive health data is paramount.
Despite these challenges, there are positive signs of progress. Government initiatives are being developed to promote women’s health and encourage the use of technology in this sector. There’s also growing support through funding and incubation programs specifically designed to assist Fem-Tech startups, providing them with essential financial and mentorship resources.
The future of Fem-Tech in India holds great promise. Technological advancements, including AI, machine learning, and data analytics, are poised to revolutionise women’s healthcare by enabling precise and personalised solutions.
These solutions can lead to predictive diagnostics and more effective treatments, enhancing healthcare outcomes for women across the country. As Fem-Tech gains traction, we anticipate substantial growth in India. With a combination of innovation, government support, and increased societal awareness, this sector has the potential to address long-standing disparities and empower women to take control of their well-being. CNBCTV18