This summer I am working as an intern for a women’s health startup called NNABI. NNABI a hormonal wellness company that is currently developing a holistic, natural supplement for women experiencing perimenopause, the lesser-known health stage prior to menopause. Perimenopause is incredibly common, with all women starting at the age of forty experiencing symptoms. Despite its prevalence, one survey shows that 73% of women are currently not treating their symptoms, instead choosing to “tough it out,” a view largely based in the stigma surrounding menopause.
NNABI aims to lower that percentage by raising awareness of this phase, both through helping women treat their symptoms naturally and through educating other groups about the overall importance of women’s health. I chose to work in this particular field because of my background in Health Science and Social Policy (HSSP), where I learned about many injustices that occur in the healthcare world. One of the most impactful is the gender data gap, or the disparities in research quantity and quality between medical issues that more commonly affect men, and issues that more commonly affect women. Research shows that healthcare solutions, like medications and their dosages, are often based in male physiology, which can lead to women experiencing adverse affects to medications.
NNABI, as well as other companies focusing on menopause, are dedicated to closing the gender data gap. One of my responsibilities this summer is to create a survey that the company will use to gain insight into how both women and men think of menopause. The main goal for the survey is to show that despite being extremely common, menopause is incredibly stigmatized. With NNABI, I am also working on ways to raise awareness of menopause among younger women. I have been researching possibilities of getting menopause to be in sexual education so that students of all genders will be informed later on in life.
My current project is to do audits of the category and of the audience. I am currently researching other menopause supplement companies and analyzing their formulas and claims. I am also studying women’s conversations on social media surrounding perimenopause, looking at potential customers’ biggest concerns and frustrations. These projects will ultimately be crucial for NNABI’s branding. Since the company is still new, there is work to be done in explaining exactly how this company is different from its competitors. The small steps of combing through competitor websites, completing their product quizzes, and viewing their social media are all ways of understanding the current market. Reading and watching real conversations between women about perimenopause are smaller steps towards revealing what gaps exist in women’s understanding of their symptoms and the solutions that are available to them. My observations from these two projects will be synthesized into a company reference sheet, which will help when deciding on branding choices like pricing and audience interactions.
I believe that the work I am doing this summer will be a small part in the overall fight to redefine women’s health in the United States and worldwide. Overall progress in this fight will be when issues like the gender data gap and menopausal stigma are minimized. NNABI is a company that is committed to changing the definition of women’s health by highlighting menopause as an issue that impacts everyone. In my research, I found this sentiment echoed in this quote: “…women’s health, in other words, contributes in a significant way to stronger, healthier societies.”