'Femtech' gains traction in Japanese worker benefits

Telemedicine and birth control empower women to better manage health concerns

TOKYO, Sep 28 (Nikkei) - From birth control to increased access to doctors, more Japanese companies are including so-called femtech services in their benefits package to address health concerns unique to their female workers.

"Thanks to our company's benefits, I suffer less from hormonal issues," said Yuumi Shimura, a project manager at Tokyo-based sales startup Surpass. "I can throw myself into my work without stress."

Women make up around 80% of the workforce and nearly 60% of directors at Surpass, and Forbes Japan has praised the company for actively creating a welcoming environment for motivated women. Since May 2021, its benefits include free access to birth control pills, which can be used to ease cramping and premenstrual syndrome.

Surpass President Ryoko Ishihara herself used to suffer from period pains. "I wanted to make sure that if the pills could improve my employees' health, then they would be formally part of our benefits package," she said.

Interested workers and their partners can meet online with a doctor and receive a prescription at the company's expense. In February, Surpass also made it easier for employees to see a gynecologist at a partner hospital in Tokyo. ...continue reading