September 2020 Power Womxn
We’re committed to uplifting the amazing womxn in tech who are working to ensure that everyone – no matter who they are or where they live – can achieve reproductive well-being. Brought to you by Pandia Health, we are pleased to launch the Power Womxn series in which we will feature womxn FemTech leaders and founders who are out to change the world!
This month’s Power Womxn is Jennie Wetter from the podcast rePROS Fight Back.
What inspired you to start/lead your company?
After the Trump administration took office there was this onslaught of attacks on reproductive rights and the LGBTQ community. At the Population Institute we were discussing ways we could deal with so many different policies at the same time. We decided to think outside the box and start a podcast, and that is how rePROs Fight Back was born.
When creating the podcast I wanted to ensure that people who were interested in reproductive health, rights, and justice had a resource they could go to where they could learn about what was happening around the issues they care about. But learning about the issues was not enough for me. I wanted to make sure that listeners left each episode not with despair over the terrible policies coming out of the administration but energized with actions they could take to fight back.
How does your work help give people the tools to achieve reproductive well-being?
We need many things to achieve reproductive well-being ranging from LGBTQ inclusive comprehensive sex education, to access to affordable health care, to birth control, to abortion and much more. It is important that we are talking about the full range of issues, but that is not enough we also need to focus on those most marginalized, low-income individuals, BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, young people, and people with disabilities because once they have reproductive well-being everyone will.
rePROs Fight Back talks to reproductive health, rights, and justice experts about this full range of issues and how they impact communities both in the US and in developing countries. This ensures our listeners are informed about the issues that could impact their ability to achieve reproductive well-being and that they are able to take action to make sure everyone has access to the care they need.
How would you define success for your company and for the fem tech space, more generally?
Success for rePROs Fight Back is an informed audience who listens to our episodes and is inspired to take the recommended action from that episode. That however is just a first step. We want the actions our listeners take to lead to real policy change that ensures everyone gets access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. FemTech is a great tool for making access to care easier for everyone whether it is a podcast educating an audience on issues that will impact them or an app that you use to get your birth control prescription.
How do you see the FemTech space changing in the next 5 years? What are you looking forward to?
Right now podcasting is a field dominated by white men. Luckily that is starting to change, but there is a lot of catching up to do. In 5 years I think podcasts will be much more diverse and that is super exciting. With more womxn, BOPIC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities telling their stories, or talking about pop culture, or news, or politics, or reproductive health, rights, and justice the more we will have a fuller understanding of all of these issues. Right now so much of what we consume is made by and for cis straight white men and that is the perspective so many have by default. As our media gets more diverse people will be exposed to more diverse viewpoints and this will help all of us see and overcome white supremacy.
What advice what you give other womxn looking to get into FemTech?
My story isn’t a straight line and I’m not the only one. We have actually done two episodes of the podcast with colleagues telling the story of how they got where they are now and they are often winding paths. Often when I talk to young people, they assume there are specific steps they need to take to get where they want to go, but there isn’t always a clear path. You blaze your own.
I went to the University of Wisconsin and got my undergraduate degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation (basically environmental studies) and then got my masters at American University’s School for International Service in Global Environmental Policy and now I’m the Director of Public Policy at the Population Institute and the host rePROs Fight Back a reproductive health, rights, and justice podcast. This is something I could never have imagined when I was an undergrad.
My advice is to not be afraid of a winding path sometimes you will find a nice surprise or new passion along the way. I never knew my early passion for the environment would turn into a new passion for reproductive health, rights, and justice. So, find your passion and discover how you can turn that passion into what you want to do.