This is Part Two of The Rise of Sheconomy: Women’s Increasing Impact on Business, Culture, and Healthcare. You can access part one here.

SP: What are some of the challenges that remain for women as the social and business spheres adjust to a post-pandemic world?

RD: With the pandemic slowly winding down, more women are returning to work, but a company cannot look at the last salary drawn as a benchmark to pay in a return to work. This is the number one reason women fell behind men in compensation. And this is what Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, has been talking about implementing in the federal government.

Overall, women are thriving in many ways, despite the pandemic. The state of women’s entrepreneurship is at an all-time high. But women are still not experiencing the same success in many elements like access to capital, traditional voice networks, and representation in the boardroom or the government. The issue is no longer just the confidence gap; it’s no longer about negotiation skills; it’s no longer about the number of businesses created. Let’s be clear—this conversation is no longer about fixing the woman.

The conversation must be about advocacy to the institutions and developing the infrastructure and support to ensure that the already abundant, educated, incredible women have the right pedestal on which to stand. Women are not competing with each other, which we have done for many years. There’s no more time for self-sabotage, no more time for lack of confidence, and no more time for dealing with the systems set up a long time ago. Women are taking a stand. We do not want to sit in the back, waiting and hoping that the world will become better without our actions and input. We need a new future, and there’s no better time for us to create this future but this time, with a new set of eyes and ears that unequivocally come from women.

SP: Globally, women’s demand for home healthcare equipment and devices is steadily increasing after the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main reasons is the growing health consciousness among women. How is this trend driving the femtech industry?

RD: The healthcare industry is the sector that men built for men. Women’s healthcare came about recently. In the last 15 years, we have been on drugs tested on men and then given to us. We continue to be underrepresented in clinical trials by almost 75%. Femtech, or female technology, fosters the ability of women to come together in a common platform. It helps unify us in taking control of our bodies and health by using digital tools, apps, and software that help us be proactive and monitor our health. This industry has the potential of $1.3 trillion, with many products and services catering to women at different stages of life, from menstrual health, pregnancy, and menopause to public health and senior care.

SP: On potential growth areas, could you illustrate three key digital economy areas that can thrive with Sheconomy in this new normal? How?

RD: I believe that the industries that will thrive under the Sheconomy will be food, healthcare and beauty, telecom, financial services, automobile, and real estate. The female-powered economy is poised to outpace the economies of the world’s most prominent nations in the next five years.

SP: What new technologies will the above-mentioned sectors need to embrace to understand female consumers better?

RD: Bridging the agenda and technology gap requires two important shifts. First, we need to focus our innovation efforts on sectors such as energy and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) because I believe this will convey rapid and significant benefits to women in developing countries. For example, if women had access to household power sources, it would lengthen their productive day of work. If they had access to mobile phones and computers with internet connections, this would allow women to develop new careers and give communities access to the services.

Secondly, we need to radically alter the life cycle of developing and deploying new and existing technologies. Currently, developers allow technology itself to drive how it is designed, marketed, and distributed. Developers need to put females at the center of the process by consulting with, and including women in, critical design and deployment phases. How many technologies today have been designed and coded by men for women? Most, and that needs to end. Rather than create a technology, then figure out how to attract women in developing countries to adopt it, developers must first ask what technologies women need and what technology will help women advance economically. Then, they must involve women as technology innovators, developers, and drivers of the process to design something that women can use while making it affordable and accessible.

Some examples from the developing world that I’ve worked with are fuel-efficient cookstoves, such as the UPC stove in Kenya, which reduces the time rural women spend on household cooking; or something like a motorized scooter that provides billions of women and women with a safer and more reliable mode of transportation in countries like China, India, Malaysia, and Thailand. Artificial intelligence is another very big area that needs to embrace gender-specificity.

SP: Thank you for your time today. Any other thoughts you’d like to share on the Sheconomy and trends for the future?

RD: I believe that no single company can provide everything in today’s world. More and more tech companies are moving to use a platform strategy, leading us to a future where companies partner with each other and add on products and solutions.

Another new trend that I see as a business model is vertically integrated micro providers (VIMPROS), which—according to FemTechInsider—“refers to companies that optimize each component of the patient journey to deliver highly customized, frictionless healthcare experiences.”

In healthcare, VIMPROS could potentially become a game-changer for telemedicine. Previously, companies provided only virtual consultations pertaining to COVID. Then, they realized that to meet the needs of their patients, they needed to add on more services. For example, they need to add on pharmacy, digital therapeutics, and apps for monitoring diseases. They may need to add on sleep pattern analyses, blood pressure readings, or apps that track lifestyle exercise, and general fitness. VIMPROS have great potential due to owning the whole value chain where they can influence and optimize margins of every step. They can also retain patients and increase the patient lifetime value with time.

In closing, I want to say that it’s time to create a world where women are supported to make even bigger moves. We want to see the world evolve in a loving, inclusive way and fight for success where we can lock arms together while creating financial and life abundance. It’s almost like an architectural restructuring of the world happening now. The things that historically held women back for generations are disappearing, and I am very optimistic about the future. Thank you so much.

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About Reenita Das

Reenita Das currently serves as Healthcare and Life Sciences’ Partner and Senior Vice President and is the first woman Partner at Frost & Sullivan, driving the global research vision and strategy for the firm and commercial opportunities within the healthcare practice. She has lived and worked in over ten countries, focusing on finding solutions to healthcare challenges and implementing growth change strategies. She recently got voted the top 100 women in Femtech and Healthtech. Reenita’s focus is on how healthcare will operate 20 years from today, and she shares her vision at leading conferences and events.

Reenita Das

Reenita Das currently serves as Healthcare and Life Sciences’ Partner and Senior Vice President and is the first woman Partner at Frost & Sullivan, driving the global research vision and strategy for the firm and commercial opportunities within the healthcare practice. She has lived and worked in over ten countries, focusing on finding solutions to healthcare challenges and implementing growth change strategies. She recently got voted the top 100 women in Femtech and Healthtech. Reenita’s focus is on how healthcare will operate 20 years from today, and she shares her vision at leading conferences and events.

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