The Top 10 Women’s Health Opportunities for 2023

The innovations Avestria hopes to see in the New Year

Avestria Ventures
5 min readDec 20, 2022

2023 marks a significant year in women’s health history: the 30-year anniversary of the NIH Revitalization Act which allowed women of child-bearing potential to participate in clinical trials. As the year begins, we’re highlighting the top 10 opportunities in women’s health for similar innovation and change.

Advertising: This past fall, Meta (previously Facebook and Instagram) changed its advertising policies to allow “ads that promote sexual health, wellness and reproductive products and services”.

Previously, Meta banned ads containing words like “vaginal”, “vaginal health”, “menopause” and “OB/GYN” because the ads represented “adult content” or advertised “sexual pleasure”. However, ads around condoms, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation were approved; they met Meta’s advertising policy guidelines by focusing on “family planning”.

The new advertising policy extends the content accessibility and reach of women’s health companies. But it also starts eliminating the double standard: men’s health needs are necessary while women’s health needs are censored.

Cardiovascular Disease: Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death for women, causing one in every three deaths. Women’s hearts, on average, are smaller and pump faster than men’s. Female-specific conditions like endometriosis, menopause, and polycystic ovary disease can also increase women’s cardiovascular health risks: women aged 40 or younger with endometriosis were three times more likely to have a heart attack, develop chest pain, or need treatment for blocked arteries than women without endometriosis.

Despite these sex-based differences, though, only 38% of participants in cardiovascular clinical trials are women.

Culturally Sensitive Care: Racial bias is present in healthcare — from clinical trials (which remain around 86% white and usually male) to access to care to treatment. One survey found that 33% of Black women said they personally experienced racial discrimination when going to a doctor or health clinic, and 21% said they have avoided going to a doctor or seeking healthcare out of concern they would face racial discrimination.

Products, services, and tools addressing different cultures’ unique health needs and fears can help mitigate these biases — and benefit all. Research from 2018 found that eliminating race-based health disparities could save $135 billion per year: $93 billion in excess costs for medical care and $42 billion in “otherwise hampered productivity”.

De-stigmatization: From postpartum depression to period pain, urinary tract infections to urinary incontinence, women’s health issues remain stigmatized, leaving them reluctant to discuss their needs and get treatment. For example, postpartum depression affects about 10 to 20% of mothers, but less than 20% receive treatment. Urinary incontinence affects 50% of adult women — and up to 75% of women over 65 — and only 25% seek treatment from healthcare professionals.

Publicizing these formerly private issues can decrease women’s feelings of helplessness, isolation and shame, and even generate improvements in care and education.

Funding: Funding for women’s health companies is generally increasing. As of November 2022, PitchBook Data found 29 women’s health companies received $62M collectively in venture capital funding in 2015 and 110 companies raised $857M collectively in 2021.

From PitchBook Data: Investments over time in women’s health and femtech companies.

Despite these increases, though, women’s health companies still receive only about 1% of the total venture capital funding going to all healthcare companies.

Menopause: Women spent more than 1/3 of their life in perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause all together. But expertise and treatments are lacking: menopause training might “be covered in an hour in medical school”, and only 20% of OB-GYNs feel comfortable discussing and treating menopause. As a result, 75% of women who seek help in managing their symptoms don’t receive it.

Maternal Health: The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate out of any country in the developed world, increasing 2–3x for Black mothers. But almost 85% of maternal deaths are preventable.

The White House responded with the Maternal Day of Action and Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis to bring awareness to this “crisis” and announce the single-largest investment to combat it.

The Maternal Health Call to Action can be found here and the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis can be found here.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade also brought new awareness regarding ectopic pregnancies, preeclampsia, and other pregnancy risks. These conversations and actions— from the federal government downward — can help catalyze change across products and services, policies and laws, to improve mothers’ health.

Terms like “ectopic pregnancy” and “birth control” both saw an increase in Google searches following the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022 (marked by black line).

Reproductive Health: Women bear most of the emotional, mental, and physical work of preventing pregnancy. Over the past year, though, researchers have made progress on male birth control options: topical gels and a non-hormonal pill. 2023 could bring these still-early products a step forward to commercialization — and to equal birth control responsibility for men and women.

Standards & References: Since 1975, life science research and medical education and practice has been based on a “Reference Man”: a young, white, able-bodied, 70-kilogram male.

But the Reference Man doesn’t truly represent the standard human or even the standard man. 2022 saw the most advanced female model built in entirety, and the next few years might see the Reference Man be replaced entirely with new, accurate models of men and women alike.

Women as a Market: Women dominate healthcare as (unpaid) caregivers, decision-makers, patients, and workers. They live longer and see healthcare providers more regularly than men, and an estimated $500B in annual medical expenses are attributed to them.

But only 4% of all healthcare research and development targets their health specifically. Understanding that women are a valuable — not niche — market can lead to both financial gains to investors and improvements to women’s lives.

These 10 areas represent just a fraction of open opportunities in women’s health. We hope 2023 will capitalize on this market and its potential to help women — not only through the next year but through all the years that follow.

What opportunities do you see in women’s health for 2023? Let us know — and follow Avestria on this blog, and our website, LinkedIn, and Twitter to hear more from us.



Avestria Ventures

Investing in early-stage women’s health and female-led life sciences companies.