Tech start-ups that address women’s health are a small, but growing, segment of the venture capital market. This industry, known as femtech, is gaining investor attention.

So far this year, 70 femtech startups have raised more than $375 million. In the next two years, the market is projected to reach $50 billion.

The growth potential is huge, especially as women gain representation in life sciences research and clinical trials.

As the industry blossoms, femtech entrepreneurs will face a series of communications challenges. Successfully navigating these obstacles will make women’s health mainstream and empower women to manage their health and wellness through technology.

Break the stigma and taboo

Femtech encompasses a variety of products, services and software catered to women’s health: fertility tracking apps, menopause support, menstrual health trackers, pregnancy monitors, breast pumps, pelvic floor trainers and more. Deep-rooted cultural taboos around sexual wellness can embed silence, secrecy and negativity around women’s health issues. It is important to note that these challenges are not limited to cis-gendered women, but also some transmen, gender non-binary and intersex individuals. Studies show it leads many girls and women to experience shame over natural physiological processes.

Femtech companies can break the stigma of talking about women’s health by openly discussing these topics when they market their products or services. Last year the Center for Intimacy Justice sparked major changes to discriminatory advertising policies on the world’s largest social media platform after publishing a report describing censorship of health ads for women and people of diverse genders.

Increase awareness of solutions to improve health disparities

When it comes to women’s health, this deck is stacked against them: there’s censorship on social media and traditional media, a lack of studies into women’s care, and numerous cases of women who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed by the medical community. In general, 36% of U.S. adults lack basic health literacy or understanding around their healthcare needs and how to obtain the best care possible.

Femtech executives need to effectively communicate to potential users the benefits, features and usage of their products. In addition, they must prove to the medical community that their solution is needed in the first place. Studies have shown that doctors routinely dismiss women’s pain for a wide range of health concerns, with women’s complaints commonly being ignored or called “dramatic.”

Underscore privacy and data security policies

Femtech companies are not constrained by HIPAA and rely on the type of data people share with their doctors: details about menstrual cycles, fertility information or intimate health. In the past, they’ve been criticized for selling user data to marketing and analytics companies such as Facebook and Google.

Today, users expect clear communication about how their data is handled and protected. The post-Dobbs privacy concerns highlight the complexities of today’s health privacy protections and the ad tech ecosystem for femtech companies.

Reach diverse populations

Harmful power structures have historically determined whose needs and wellbeing is prioritized. Effective communication in femtech requires reaching and engaging diverse populations of women, including women across cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic groups and geographies. Language barriers, cultural sensitivities and accessibility must be considered when developing marketing materials and user interfaces that generate health equity. National Institutes of Health and the American Medical Association provide guidance.

Show your work

Given the sensitivities femtech products and services address, companies must prove they are credible and backed by scientific evidence. Smart brand building communications strategies are based on on transparency, authenticity and consistency.

The American Association of Medical Colleges Center for Health Justice advises organizations to be transparent about their goals, funding, and the outcomes that matter to them. Build strong relationships with your users, and remember their engagement is as important as your innovation. Prioritize human storytelling over product storytelling, unapologetically address the roots of the issue your organization is solving, identify the win-wins with your patients and users, and lean in to a unique brand story to differentiate and validate your solution in the market.

Innovators and advocates have a long road ahead

Society is finally at a place of investing in women’s health, addressing disparities in healthcare, and improving outcomes in maternal and child health. But entrepreneurs working at the heart of the matter still have a long road ahead. To gain acceptance and adoption of femtech solutions, they must collaborate with healthcare professionals, be thoughtful of their marketing campaigns, conduct community outreach programs, and engage in public advocacy. How and what they say can raise awareness of and destigmatize women’s health needs, and improve the lives and outcomes for women worldwide.

RH Strategic develops integrated PR strategies for healthcare companies that launch products, drive sales and amplify messages that resonate. If you’re interested in learning how PR can support your business goals, get in touch.


RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based PR agency with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.