How Health Apps Let Women Down

How Health Apps Let Women Down Posted On
Posted By Parveen

Sexism has been into trend since long. Women, no matter what, are always subjugated to gender stereotype.  And this has clearly emerged out in the domain of healthcare apps. Women have always been specific about their menstrual cycle, pregnancy whereabouts and of course weight loss. And the prevalence of women healthcare apps soon took over the entire health industry. Though the earlier era saw woman tracking all over pen and paper, the advent of digitization replaced it with technology backed healthcare apps.

The idea sounds great, could be some of the features apparently help women track their health better but hitting back to reality these apps are more of a sceptical bunch of algorithms that hardly understand women lives. While depicting unprotected sex with a banana without a condom, using slangs as references is way too offensive. Not to forget the inclusion of unwanted period humour.How Health Apps Let Women Down

Narrowing down this discussion, we outline some of the provocative features in the healthcare apps:

Irrelevant Indication Of Sexual Terms

Fetuses as grapes, condoms on a banana for protected sex, without condoms indicating unprotected sex, menstrual cycle referred to as the crime scene, and a lot more. Caricaturing a woman’s body indecently has seen to infuse negativity and derogatory while defining pregnancy and menstruation.


Apps are more focused on pregnancy cycles

Though the apps are thought to fall under the category of healthcare apps, they emphasize more on women either pregnant or searching for ways to avoid the same. They provide options where either the women want to conceive or avoid pregnancy. Inferencing, the app developers feel that the entire female population are either expecting or avoiding ovulation. The apps fail to consider the women section that desire to track their periods only to see if the cycle is normal and not enter into future planning.How Health Apps Let Women Down

Apple realized after one year of launching Apple Health that they have not included a major key feature – a period tracker. Health apps like Eve and Glow have completely failed to support women in various phases of their lives.


Apps Share Personal Data

A common fact that app users need to feed data for login and usage.  And when a user does this, she believes that all her privacy is locked and no third-party access to the confidential data is done unless approved by the user.  But the healthcare apps does not appear to abide by this.  Consider a case where the women have had a miscarriage.  There no specificity to update the app on this,  and so according to the app, the women are still pregnant and will surely turn a happy mum after nine months.

No matter if she is still struggling to cope with the loss of her unborn baby, she will still receive an email outlining the formulas to feed the baby with. Offensive and a bit harsh, it appears as if the apps consider life to be an illusion with mere perfection. Whether a software bug or the inability to study woman life, healthcare apps continue to let women down.


Trying to defame The Female Reproductive Organs

To do good to the female section, the app has the feature of helping them know more about their body and this is doing me by redeeming in-app gems. While this may sound a perfect marketing strategy, an app cannot teach a woman about her body,  her mood or to be specific about her G-spot. To add to the derogatory signs,  the app uses slangs such as, hookups and no matter what the age is, every female is a girl. So, dear Mr app owner welcome to the real world, and wake up!

How Health Apps Let Women Down


Absurd Data Tracking

Once the app grasps all the data, it would guide the way it does to all. Not knowing that every woman is different and has different body structure, the app would constantly notify you to walk or talk, drink water or sleep, not knowing that a pregnant woman has a bunch of mood shifts and the unending beeps only do harm. Also, it forces the woman to do more than her body can take. Resultantly, the women are bound to be anxious and end up turning sick. Swapna Krishna shares her experience with Apple Watch which kept on buzzing her to “close her ring” and she was not even able to adjust the settings according to her needs. She wrote an article in Engadget saying, “I couldn’t tell the app, ‘Hey, this is actually what is healthy for me right now’”.

…it’d become a constant source of anxiety, reminding me that I wanted to be more active than I was physically able to be. Rather than using it to track my activity during my third trimester, I turned off notifications altogether and removed the Activity Rings from my Apple Watch face.

So, you see its not a game where you can just feed the data and expect the results to follow. It’s hard to understand a woman’s life normally,  under pressure and when subjected to mood shifts. The prevailing apps are highly questionable in their features and weigh everyone like the same. It’s high time that the developers and the designers reconsider their ideas and algorithm to come up with something that actually helps a woman track her health.


Image Credits: Unsplash


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