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Women’s Health Beyond Fertility: Breaking the Stigma

Posted by Bowdoin on October 10, 2023

Women’s Health has long been a topic of interest, but it’s only in recent years that it’s gained recognition as a distinct and important field in its own right. Despite the growing awareness, there are still many challenges to overcome, from understanding the intricacies of investing in Women’s Health to addressing the prevailing misconception that it’s primarily about fertility or maternity. In this blog, we’ll explore the emerging opportunities in Women’s Health and why it’s essential to break the stigma and redefine the space.

The Early Days of Women’s Health as a Distinct Vertical

Women’s Health is still in its infancy as a recognized vertical. The shocking fact that women weren’t even allowed to participate in clinical trials until 1993 highlights the uphill battle women have faced around equitable care.

Investing in Women’s Health has also faced hurdles. Historically, investors struggled to define it as a distinct vertical. However, the recent surge in funding for Women’s Health companies, particularly in seed, A, and B rounds, is a beacon of hope. This surge reflects the vast potential within this vertical, with higher investment ceilings than any other healthcare area.

Furthermore, specialized Women’s Health-focused venture capitalists are emerging, offering subject matter expertise and board support. In the challenging 2023 fundraising environment, mission alignment and differentiation are vital for these companies to secure investment.

Moving Beyond Fertility and Maternity

Women’s Health stretches far beyond strictly fertility and maternity care. I heard a quote at a conference recently that really resonated.  “Women make up 51% of the population but they’re responsible for giving birth to 100% of the future”. Yes, fertility and maternity are crucial components of Women’s Health, but it also requires a more holistic approach.  The emergence of companies specializing in virtual care for college-aged women, at-home diagnostics for early-stage ovarian cancer, sexual wellness, customized menopause symptom treatments, and specialized cardiovascular data sensors tailored for women are just a few examples of areas equally as critical to the health of women. The diversity of issues unique to our population demands that we break free from any restrictive definitions.

It’s high time we dispelled the misconception that Women’s Health is solely focused on fertility. The reality is that Women’s Health is a complex tapestry that covers a vast spectrum of concerns, from adolescence to our aging populations.

Fostering the Emergence of Women VC’s

The landscape of Women’s Health is not just about securing investments; it’s also about fostering diversity in the investor pool. The emergence of women-focused venture capitalists is playing a pivotal role in reshaping the sector. Women investors bring a unique perspective, one that is often lacking in a traditionally male-dominated field. In a world where men VC’s focusing on Women’s Health might seem incongruous, these women VC’s are helping to bridge the gap and ensure that Women’s Health receives the attention it deserves.

Shaping the Future of Women’s Health

Women’s access to healthcare, beyond just maternity-related care, is a matter of concern for all. It’s heartening to see numerous companies dedicating their missions to this cause. Virtual care has made significant strides in narrowing these gaps, but there’s still much work ahead.

Collaboration is key as we pave the way forward. It’s essential to establish the standards and expectations for Women’s Health, defining its scope and potential. Acknowledging the challenges of being pioneers in this field, we must push forward with unwavering determination.

Women’s Health is more than just fertility or maternity—it’s a diverse and evolving field that requires attention and investment. As we continue to navigate the early days of this emerging vertical, it’s crucial to recognize the multitude of issues it encompasses. By doing so, we can collectively shape the future of women’s Health, ensuring that it meets the needs of women across all aspects of their lives.