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Women in digital health - the new wonder women?

I keep hearing that that technology is a domain of men. Yet… the first programmers were actually NOT men. Well... even the first computers weren't machines. In both cases, they were actually women.

Not sure if you should believe me? Meet 3 women who are changing the tech world. And learn about a new side of the history

Case no. 1: Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, visionary. She is celebrated worldwide with her holiday and a technology award named after her. 

Case no. 2: Katherine Johnson, the NASA "computer" responsible for successfully plotting the flight paths for some of America's earliest space exploration expeditions. A subject of the Hollywood blockbuster Hidden Figures (and the book it's based on).

Way back when…

I've been working in a tech environment for several years now. 
What have I learned?

In 2014 I worked in a company where I was the only woman. It had its perks. Men were polite, gallant, often wanted to impress me. But when it came to a tech topic… ughh, it was a nightmare. Seldom did they realize that I could be talked to as a tech partner. 

Fortunately, it's changing now. The most powerful women show that while there is still plenty of work ahead of us, we shouldn't focus only on the setbacks.

A few years ago, women who occupied top finance and legal positions in technology companies were a minority.  Now, I see women leaders of many tech companies. They lead in Venture Capitals and create FemTech startups that conquer the world. While the ascent is slow, it is much-welcomed progress, and a win for equality as stereotypes fall into oblivion.

It's 2018, and FemTech i is booming as a new sector.

Who are the women behind some of the most exciting FemTech endeavors?
What tech solutions are they bringing to the table?

The new Wonder Women:

Let me introduce 3 women worth following in the upcoming weeks. Powerful at work, wonderful to talk to, visionaries worth following. Their projects will change our approach to life and will become extremely meaningful for the world. If they hadn't already.

1. Stephanie Alys  
Co-founder & Chief Pleasure Officer at
MysteryVibe
Stephanie Alys co-founder of MysteryVibe - femtech sexual health project

Founder: 

As weird as it sounds, Stephanie is an authority on pleasure, intimacy, and technology. And a much-needed one at that. Her key focus is on changing perceptions around pleasure in a positive and empowering way. She is a strong advocate that pleasure is a significant part of human life and fundamental to everyday happiness. 

As one of the co-founders of MysteryVibe, Stephanie is a spokesperson for the company and leads the role of technology within sex and relationships. Featured in popular publications, such as the BBC, The Times, Guardian, Economist, CNBC, TechCrunch, and WIRED. She regularly appears as a keynote speaker on international stages. Proving that technology for and from women is undeniably valuable and interesting.

Stephanie's achievements brought her many nominations and awards, including the Europas, Young Guns, and Path Founders Top 100 European Founders. She was selected as Management Today's 35 in 2017 and one of the Top 50 Women under 30 by The Drum in 2017.

Funding: $2M

Her solution: 

MysteryVibe's vision is to create a complete personalized pleasure experience through technology, talent, and insight. Its mission is to empower people, their relationships, and their conversations through pleasure. MysteryVibe believes that an enlightened and liberal society is a safer and happier one. The company wants to help couples better understand their relationships and sexualities in a curious rather than seedy way. 

 

Crescendo, MysteryVibe's debut product, is far more than a regular sex toy. Despite appearances, it is the perfect gadget for women to start a conversation with their partners. It solves a real pain point — the fact that as we get older and get married, have kids, suffer from work stress, and more... the main thing that suffers is our sex lives. The idea of the project is based on "re-instilling sparks" in relationships, starting conversations with each other, and re-feeling the "magic" by building trust that is based on self-expression and needs.

2. Tania Boler
Co-founder & CEO at women’s health tech company Elvie
(Products Elvie Trainer and Elvie Pump)
Tania Boler -CEO at Elvie - wireless and silent pump

Founder:

Tania is a passionate advocate for women's issues. Following her studies at Oxford and Stanford Universities, Tania completed a Ph.D. in women's health and has held various leadership positions at international NGOs and the UN. She has published and advised widely on women's health issues, including two books and multiple research studies. She is an extremely experienced leader in FemTech. From the very beginning, her knowledge in this sector inspired us to go deeper into this subject and make it our specialization.

Tania started Elvie believe that new technology and connected devices (Internet Of Things) can help make women's lives better.

Funding: $13.2M

The solution:

The company's mission is to improve women's lives through smarter technology. Elvie combines genuine female insight and world-class design expertise to transform the way women think and feel about themselves. 


Tania Boler reveals the truth on the 'taboo' of women's health. Behind the small pebble-shaped wearable that connects to an app lays a desire to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. It's extremely relevant in women's lives, yet sometimes we don't realize that pelvic floor muscles even exist! Childbirth, normal wear, and tear of living put a lot of stress on a woman's pelvic floor, leading to incontinence and, in severe cases, organ prolapse.

Elvie Trainer is recommended by over 1,000 health professionals and works with the NHS (National Health Service). Celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Davina McCall, and Khloe Kardashian. And Boler isn't stopping there: she launched a new device called Elvie Pump (silent wearable breast pump) and has three planned for release during the next two years. Isn't that motivating?

 

"I think we've got the potential to help women on a grand scale to live longer and healthier lives. Women are traditionally a bit hesitant when it comes to embracing certain technologies, so I'd like to focus on changing that and maybe the way we design it too".  Tania says.

 

3. Rosie Goode
Founder at Hypnobirth Works — Positive Pregnancy and Birth Coaching
Rosie Goode - founder of hypnobirrth works

Founder:

Rosie is passionate about helping women to have a secure and positive experience when giving birth - whatever the circumstances. She is one of the UK's most experienced Hypnotherapists and Hypnobirthing Specialists and Doula. Rosie taught nearly 3,000 couples, including friends and family of Prince William and Kate, the Branson family, and other premium profile clients. Midwives and obstetricians recommend her work to each other all around London.

Rosie is on the Board of UK/European organizations, including Midwifery Unit Network and Board of SW London Maternity System, and is frequently invited to be involved in NIHR research studies related to improvements in birth and maternal health and lectures students at St George's and Kingston University. In 2003 she was trained by well-known personalities — Mark Tyrell of Uncommon Knowledge and Marie Mongan of the HypnoBirthing Institute.
Rosie's Positive Pregnancy and Birth Programme is responsive to individual parents' needs and their birth plans. She emphasizes the mind/body connection in giving birth and highlights it in the current birth system.

We met Rosie during Kick-Off Workshops at our office. She's so inspiring, and she gave us a picture of how beautifully this time of pregnancy and childbirth can be and shared some powerful words with all the parents working in our office.

Funding: (Seeking Funds)

The solution: 

Rosie believes that a positive birth is not about luck. That empowering women means enabling them to stay in control of their birth. Reduction of stress and anxiety in the weeks before delivery and preparation for birth significantly determine how labor goes. What a mother feels before birth is the key, so Rosie created a highly effective, practical birth preparation and coaching program: underpinned by birth physiology, the mind-body connection, confidence-building techniques that teach moms how to remain calm and in control in any environment.

This wonderful program supports every mother, but a supportive partner makes a significant difference, so unconventionally, this program supports partners too. And whether a mother plans a normal, physiological birth, a gentle c-section, or requires medical support, with the right preparation, the right environment, and team, any woman can have an amazing, positive experience and memories to treasure.

 

For a better future...

These 3 women showed that gender is not entirely relevant when running a successful business. And more importantly, women have revolutionary ideas on how to help other women in their better lives and health. The FemTech movement started a few years ago, and we're just beginning a long-overdue conversation. 

I strongly believe that a person helping women in their health, sexual, or maternity problems does not have to be a woman. It can be anyone. Yet not every man can understand what painful delivery is or what the post-delivery health consequences are. Men will never experience it themselves, hence their ignorance.

New technologies are no longer "black magic" for women. They find themselves in this "man's world" and talk about business equally. I see tech being used to empower women and give them (back) control over their lives, and within systems that claim to be 'evidence-based' but are so often not. The better the quality of information we have about ourselves, the better we can trust ourselves, the more powerful and effective we are.

While women in tech may still be in the minority when it comes to leadership, women are making real changes. 

After all, as the icon once said, "Who runs the world? GIRLS!"

__________

Are you an entrepreneur, startup founder, or an advocate of women's health and interested to know more about FemTech or Women in Tech?
We would love to hear your opinions, ideas, and projects on what you think will be the future of FemTech! Email us, so we could discuss the possibilities in this space.

__________

Read more: FemTech: another buzzword or a rising digital innovation in female healthcare?


Article originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

 
Ela Goczyńska-Han

By

"The State of FemTech" ebook co-author. A strategic marketer who drives value and results across marketing channels. Passionate about business growth strategy and brand development. Alternative coffee and cat lover. Expensive wine evangelist and the guardian of a healthy lifestyle at Untitled Kingdom.