It’s said that technology is a domain of men. But wait a second… The first programmers weren’t men, and the first computers weren’t machines. What they were, in both cases, were women.
Ada Lovelace considered the first computer programmer and a visionary for what programming and computers could eventually become, has a technology award named after her, and a holiday devoted to celebrating her legacy. Katherine Johnson meanwhile, the NASA “computer” responsible for successfully plotting the flight paths of some of America’s earliest space exploration expeditions, was the subject of the Hollywood blockbuster Hidden Figures (and the book it’s based on).
A long time ago…
I’ve been working in a tech environment for several years now. And what have I learned?
In 2014 I was the only woman in the company I worked at. Sometimes it was cool. Men were polite and gallant, they wanted to impress me. But when it came to a tech topic… ughh it was a nightmare. They didn’t realize that I can talk with them about tech as a partner. But fortunately times flies by and it changed. The most powerful women show that while there is still work to be done, we shouldn’t focus only on the setbacks.
A few years ago women typically occupied top finance and legal positions, individuals on technology companies were a minority. Now, women are a leader of many tech companies, they lead in Venture Capitals, they create FemTech startups that conquer the world. While the ascent is slow, this much-welcomed progress is wonderful for equality and beneficial for success. Stereotypes fall into oblivion.
FemTech itself is booming as a new sector.
The new Wonder Women
From my perspective, these 3 women are worth following in the upcoming weeks. They are extremely wonderful and powerful. Their visions and projects change our approach to life and are meaningful for the world.
- Stephanie Alys — Co-founder & Chief Pleasure Officer at MysteryVibe
Founder: Stephanie is an immeasurable authority on pleasure, intimacy, and technology. 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 our everyday happiness. Stephanie is a spokesperson in MysteryVibe as one of the co-founders, and she leads the role of technology within sex and relationships. She has been featured in popular publications such as the BBC, The Times, Guardian, Economist, CNBC, TechCrunch, and WIRED and she regularly appears as a keynote speaker on international stages. This is proof that the technology in the women’s edition is undeniably valuable and interesting.
Stephanie’s actions have won a lot of 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.
The solution: MysteryVibe’s vision is to create the complete personalized pleasure experience through technology, talent, and insight. Their mission is to empower people, their relationships and conversations through pleasure. MysteryVibe’s belief is 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, not just a regular sex toy. Despite appearances, it is the perfect gadget for women to start a conversation with their partner. It solves a real pain point — the fact that as we get older, married, kids, work stress, the main thing that suffers is our sex lives. The idea of the project is based on “re-instilling sparks” in relationships, opening to conversations with each other and re-feeling the “magic” in the relationship by building trust, 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)
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. Tania 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. Her knowledge in this sector from the very beginning inspired us to go deeper into this subject and begin to specialize in it.
She started Elvie out of a belief that new technology and connected devices (Internet Of Things) can help make women’s lives better.
The solution: The company 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. Tania’s business is behind the small pebble-shaped wearable that connects to an app to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. It’s so important in women’s lives. Sometimes we don’t realize that something like pelvic floor muscles even exists! Childbirth, normal wear and tear of living, puts a lot of stress on a woman’s pelvic floor, which can lead 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 motivating?
“I think we’ve got the potential to help women on a grand scale to live longer and healthier lives, but 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
Founder: Rosie is passionate about helping women to have a confident and positive birth, whatever the circumstances. She is one of the UK’s most experienced Hypnotherapists and Hypnobirthing Specialists and Doula having taught nearly 3,000 couples, including friends and family of Prince William and Kate, Branson family and other premium profile clients. Her work is recommended by midwives and obstetricians throughout 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 by Marie Mongan, of the HypnoBirthing Institute. Rosie’s Positive Pregnancy and Birth Programme is responsive to the needs of individual parents, their birth plans, and is underpinned by her understanding of the mind/body connection in birth, and how that works in the current birth system. We met Rosie at our 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 so important for all parents.
Founding: (Seeking Funds)
The solution: Rosie believes that a positive birth is not about luck and that empowering women enables them to stay in control of their birth. Reduction of stress and anxiety in the weeks before birth, how a woman/couple prepare for birth and the choices they make, significantly determine how birth flows and how a mother, baby and partner cope and feel postnatally. How a mother feels emotionally before birth, is key. So Rosie created a highly effective, practical, birth preparation and coaching programme: underpinned by birth physiology, the mind-body connection, confidence building techniques and how to remain calm and in control in any environment. This wonderful programme supports every mother, but a supportive partner makes a significant difference, so importantly, the programme supports partners too. And whether mother plans a normal, physiological birth, a gentle c-section or requires medical support, with the right preparation, the right environment, and team, a woman can have and deserves an amazing, positive experience, and memories to treasure.
These 3 women showed that gender is not completely important in running a successful business. Such stereotypical divisions do not exist at all. And more importantly, women have revolutionary ideas on how to help other women in their better lives and health. The FemTech movement has appeared a few years ago, but now it is beginning to talk about it more. Personally, I think that someone other than a woman is better able to help another woman in her health, sexual or maternity problems. It does not belittle anyone, but not every man is able to understand what is painful delivery or health consequences after it. Men will never experience it for 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 able we are to trust ourselves, the more powerful and effective we are.
While women in tech may still be in the minority when it comes to leadership, the women are making real changes. And as the icon 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. Please connect with us! Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we could discuss the possibilities in this space.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.