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Angels Santé

Gender Health Gap – is that a thing ? (EN)

Today is the International Women’s Day – many men might ask why there isn’t more marketing around the International Men’s day? Both are important Global Awareness day about specific gender issues.

So Gentlemen, we’ll be back to discuss specific male issues on November 19 th but in the meantime let me focus on the female health gap.

Female health, Femtech is a hot new topic and a segment of investors are keen to get involved so let’s rejoice!

Menstruation has suddenly become a word, unlike Voldemort, that we can now pronounce without lowering our voices.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, vaginal infections, preeclampsia, Depression, osteoporosis linked to menopause … the list is long.

Pain has always been linked to the cycle of a woman’s body from the first period to menopause and of course childbirth. For centuries, women may have been perceived as being a bit squeamish and emotional which has led to utter dismissal of their pains or misdiagnosis. We see it today for example with endometriosis, a very underfunded and misdiagnosed chronic condition.

On the other hand, women have always been led to believe that they had a higher pain threshold and have been instilled the notion that suffering in silence is respectable and expected. So why complain?

Not surprisingly, the Health gender gap remains obvious in 2023 with clinical trial population being massively male – this is called the medical research gender gap (1).

In addition, less than 2.5 % of publicly funded research are dedicated to specific female health issues. A study shows that funding by the US National Institutes of Health favours one-gender disease research that afflicts men compared to women, by nearly three-quarters (2).

Prevention, monitoring and female well-being in the workplace are just being flagged and only a recent subject of interest.

Lack of dedicated funding to female health is an issue not only from public but private sources as well but is that due purely to prejudice?

There is a movement among the investment community towards women health specific funds but

Many early-stage investors deplore the lack of femtech startups available for funding.

Too little research funding, too few women researchers and women-led startups may lead to this gap in the financing of women’s health innovation. Others might state that only 25 % of first-financing Venture Capital deployed in 2021 went to companies founded by women (include mixed-gender team)(3) ; a sad number when we know that women-led companies deliver higher revenues. Though to be fair, only 40 % of startups are women-led so less companies to choose from, one could argue. (4)

With an estimated $1.3 Trillion market by 2027, let’s get our investments going and let’s address the meager 1 % of existing Femtech companies addressing chronic women’s health.(5)

So what we need to aim at is (allow me my Christmas wish list) :

– More awareness to lessen prejudice and increase interest

– More researchers (all genders) working on female health issues

– More public funding for these researchers

– More entrepreneurs (all genders ) tackling the issue and bringing the appropriate innovation to the market

– More female entrepreneurs

– More early-stage investors (all genders) funding femtech innovation for the well-being of 49.58 % of the world population.

I’m proud to say that my two favorite investment communities Angels Santé ( Angels for Health) and EBAN are strong defenders of my Christmas list .

Let’s start with this one and next year we can tackle racial/ ethnic/geographical disparities in women’s health.

Back on November 19 th to discuss the Male health gap? Gosh, does it even exists? just kidding…

Caroline Amblard-Saï

Head of Angels Santé & the European Health Investor Network

Board member of EBAN

1-Source The guardian/ Nicola Slawson “Women have been woefully neglected : does medical science have a gender problem’.

2- World Economic Forum/ Deeptha Khanna & NCBI Gender Disparity in the Funding of Diseases by the U.S. National Institutes of Health/ Arthur A Mirin

3- Tech Crunch / Data obscures positive trends in VC dollars reaching women-founded startups/ Mini Aboubaker


5-Femtech landscape report 2021 by FEMTECH focus