FEMTECH WAS JUST a new word for me, until I realised the size of the business. I am told that a FICCI report expects the Indian femtech market to be worth $4 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9 per cent. According to The Business Research Company, the global femtech market grew 15.2 per cent last year to reach $37.39 billion. The figures show the increasing focus on women and their growing spending power.
And this is not the beauty and wellness market alone, but covers pregnancy, nursing care, reproductive health, pelvic and uterine health care, in addition to general health care for women. The scope is widening every year. Also, the scope is not limited to predictable products and services, but diverse elements such as diagnostic instruments, wearables and software. It would be an understatement to say that I was deeply impressed by the research in the segment.
While we are on the topic of women and technology, it was news to me that in the recent round of layoffs in the IT/ITeS industry in Europe more women than men lost jobs. I am not certain if such surveys have been done in India. Sifted, a news and analysis start-up from Europe, said “women make up just over a third of the European tech workforce, but they represent 41.6 per cent of layoffs since October 2022” citing Layoffs.fyi, which tracks tech industry cuts. An economic downturn hits women badly not just in traditional sectors but in newer sectors, too.
It is against this varied backdrop that THE WEEK is bringing you the Women’s Day Special 2023. It is about women change agents who are fighting for their convictions, to make life better for their fellow beings―female, male and furry. The package was conceptualised and put together by Special Correspondent Anjuly Mathai, with help from Senior Special Correspondent Lakshmi Subramanian, Special Correspondent Nachiket Kelkar, Principal Correspondents Pooja Biraia Jaiswal and Akanki Sharma, Senior Subeditor Sumitra Nair and Correspondent Nirmal Jovial.
The main article looks at the aspirations of the modern Indian woman and her struggles in her upward climb. Another aspect is about how women are finding it better to stay single or part ways than suffer incompatibilities. It is best not to live in bitterness, true.
I know of a couple who were married for 61 years. She wrote 25 books, and he two―a brief biography of hers, and his own autobiography. In the first book, he wrote: “I have realised something curious: that two such different people had merged, river-like, and flowed together as one for so many years. It is amazing that an ardent worshipper of art and her absolutely prosaic partner, untouched by any aesthetic sense, lived together for so long without any major earthquakes.”
He lived for seven years and 22 days after she passed. Every morning he left a handful of jasmine flowers, her favourite bloom, before her photograph.
They were my parents.