Women’s Health Has

Topic: Women’s Health Has Been Ignored for Too Long. Can FemTech be the Solution to Inclusive Health Care?

Leaving the world’s health care problems solely in the hands of men inevitably leads to the creation of products that are blind to biases.

We commodify women’s bodies. We sell them. We glorify them. We shame them. We tell them to be sexy, but don’t have sex. We tell them to have kids, but not too many. We tell them the pain is in their head, that it’s not real. We say it’s just a sign of aging. We call it normal or overreacting.

Shave, wax, pluck, laser—leave no stray hair behind. Smile, even if you don’t want to. Don’t let gray hairs show. Work out, but don’t let your muscles get too big. Be perfectly svelte.

None of this is new, sadly; it’s been perpetuated again and again by the media and in health care. Women’s bodies have been policed and our health has been ignored or belittled. This is especially true for women of color, and the nonbinary and transgender communities. Body politics are rooted in racism and sexism, and “ignoring [our] pain not only stops us from healing, it actually makes it more likely the pain will become permanent,” explained Lucia Osborne-Crowley, a legal affairs correspondent for Law360.

Women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged in the middle of having a heart attack, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. It sounds absurd, but the medical concepts of most diseases are based on health care providers’ understandings of men’s physiology; women have altogether different symptoms than men when having a heart attack.

“Leaving the world’s health care problems solely in the hands of men inevitably leads to the creation of products that are blind to biases,” explained Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech. “And these biases can be deadly.”

Topic Discussed: Women’s Health Has Been Ignored for Too Long. Can FemTech be the Solution to Inclusive Health Care?

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