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Innovations by Women are the Future of Reproductive Health

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February 15, 2018

With the rise of women worldwide entering STEM fields, more and more modern-day innovations are created by women and girls. We are also seeing more businesses run by women, creating new products and enhancing old products for other women and female-bodied people.

Female innovators in every field are important, and their contributions to society are valuable. In particular, women and other people creating great products that positively impact reproductive health are critical, and should be celebrated.

First, look at LOLA. It’s a company that sells “tampons and pads by women, for women.” Their products are different because LOLA is straightforward with what materials they’re using; for example, their tampons are 100% cotton.

LOLA’s founders, Jordana and Alex, came up with the idea for their product by considering a simple question: “Have you ever wondered what’s in a tampon?” That was the catalyst for their company.

With LOLA, consumers can set up a subscription and customize what products come in their monthly box so that exactly what they need for their period is delivered to them at the right times.

Another product conceptualized by women will hopefully hit the market soon: Lia, the flushable pregnancy test. According to TechCrunch, Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson founded their company in 2015 and have patented the technology that makes Lia innovative.

The Lia pregnancy test works like a typical at-home pregnancy test, and has two main benefits, one being that it is biodegradable in soil and dispersible in water, making it healthier for our environment than traditional plastic at-home pregnancy tests.

With Lia, there's #nomorehiding.

A post shared by Lia Diagnostics (@meetlia) on

The other benefit is that it offers people more privacy with their test results. Take, for example, the subplot of Parks and Recreation season five, episode 22: Andy finds a positive pregnancy test in Ron’s cabin, where the office recently had a retreat. He spends the episode investigating his female coworkers (and male coworkers who have female partners) to  find outwho is pregnant.

Having a greater sense of autonomy and privacy over your pregnancy test results is a groundbreaking innovation in reproductive health. Lia users can breathe easy knowing that the results of their pregnancy test can truly be confidential if they want it to be. An added bonus: the product is expected to cost about the same price as a typical plastic pregnancy test.

Another female owned and operated business is Lovability. Their primary product is a reproductive health staple: the condom. In an interview with Forbes, Lovability founder and creator Tiffany Gaines said, “It’s time to reverse negative attitudes that can keep women from being prepared, or insisting on using [condoms].”

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This feminist company has curated its brand around sex positivity, girl power, freedom of expression, and taking initiative in your sex life. Their message is that safe sex is important, and women should feel confident buying condoms and whatever else they need to be safe, healthy, and happy.

Not only do they market positive vibes, their condoms and lube are affordable and can be discreetly shipped to your door, making them accessible to just about everyone.

To me, the rise in women creating and innovating better products that impact reproductive choice and freedom signifies that we are talking more about our reproductive rights, and we are questioning and improving upon old methods to make products better, more affordable and more eco-friendly.

And there are more avenues to be explored. For example, Live UTI Free states that the two methods used to determine if someone has a urinary tract infection — rapid strip testing and standard urine culture testing — are only 30 and 50 percent accurate, respectively. This issue, along with many others, needs to be innovated, and women, girls, and other feminist people can lead the charge in improving the tools that help us be healthy and confident in ourselves.

All in all, more women in STEM and business translates into great achievements that are beneficial for consumers, especially when we consider reproductive health and justice. These feminist companies are leading the charge for better reproductive access in the commercial field.

Featured image via WOCinTech Chat on Flickr

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