“I had lots of problems with my contraception. I started taking the pill at 16 and had tons of side-effects,” recalls Alice Pelton. “I basically spent about 5 to 10 years trying different methods, and learning first-hand that contraceptive healthcare is an absolute minefield.”
Alice’s story is all too familiar to many.
Ask almost any woman, and they’ll tell you a story about a ‘female-specific’ health issue – contraception, fertility, menstruation, vaginal health – where they, or a friend, had a bad experience. They were misdiagnosed. Their problem was minimised. They were given medication that was inadequate or had well-known, unacceptable side-effects.
“Most of us have problems getting specialist care from doctors, and a huge lack of data in this space to help us make our decisions”, says Alice. “That’s what led me to the idea behind the company.”
Alice is the founder of contraceptive review platform The Lowdown. Described as ‘Trip Advisor for contraception’, the platform provides women with a platform to review and research different contraceptive methods to assess what’s right for them.
The Lowdown is part of a new generation of companies collectively known as ‘FemTech’, who are listening to and acting on the issues faced by women.
Often led by women motivated by their own experiences, be it as researchers or in their personal lives, these companies aren’t sitting around waiting for a solution. They’re building it themselves.
In this new series to mark International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we invite you to hear from a series of FemTech leaders on why they’re refusing to accept the status quo – and how they’re challenging it.
For the first story in our series, we hear from Alice Pelton on her journey to building The Lowdown, the future of contraceptive care, and why she believes leading a mission-driven company is not synonymous with being charitable.