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Breaking Barriers: The Rise of FemTech and Addressing Inequality in Medicine


Medicine has undergone remarkable advancements over the years, evolving from its early rudim...

Medicine has undergone remarkable advancements over the years, evolving from its early rudimentary practices to the sophisticated treatments and technologies we have today. Yet, despite the tremendous progress, disparities persist within the realm of healthcare. While we celebrate the strides made in improving medical practices and outcomes, it's crucial to acknowledge that not all individuals have benefited equally from these advancements. Inequality in medicine remains a pressing issue, manifesting in various forms such as unequal access to healthcare services, disparities in treatment outcomes based on race and gender, and underrepresentation in medical research and clinical trials. Despite the remarkable journey of medical progress, the journey towards equitable healthcare for all is far from over.
Throughout much of its history, the leadership and direction of medicine, was reflected in our societal structure which in previous centuries was predominantly steered by the male gender. Consequently, the lens through which medical issues were perceived and addressed often reflected the perspectives and experiences of this demographic. This influence extended across the entire spectrum of medical practice, shaping not only the understanding and prioritisation of health conditions but also the development and implementation of treatment strategies, as well as the assessment of their effects and outcomes.

As a result, medical discourse, research agendas, and clinical practices were often tailored to align with the preferences, needs, and biases of the male demographic group primarily in charge, potentially marginalising or overlooking the unique health concerns and experiences of other populations. For example, clinical trials primarily enrol white males resulting in a huge underrepresentation of women and other races. This was addressed by the FDA in 2017 with its Reauthorisation Act and again in 2020 when it issued guidance on Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations. Improvements have been made since, but specific female medicine is still largely unexplored. 
 The issue with underrepresentation in healthcare technology is finally being noticed and given rise to a revolutionary field know as ‘FemTech’ or ‘FemInnovation’. As the name would imply, FemTech focuses on technology led solutions designed to address the needs and challenges of women’s health. From reproductive health and fertility tracking, to menstrual care and menopause management, Femtech is reshaping the landscape and empowering women to take control of their wellbeing. 

It seems the world is finally waking up and addressing previously underrepresented fields of healthcare from an equality perspective.  This along with changes to legislation is acting as a catalyst for discussion around previously taboo subjects. Words such as menstruation and menopause are being discussed openly and without shame. Recent guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for “reasonable adjustments” must be made for women going through menopause will aid equality. 

As we witness the transformative power of initiatives like FemTech and the ongoing efforts to address healthcare inequality, we're prompted to reflect: What steps can we take as individuals to ensure inclusivity and equality in medicine for all genders and races?
 #femtech #Feminnovation #femalemedicine

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