On Tuesday, developers and tech junkies around the world waited eagerly for updates from The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. For decades, Apple has been on the forefront of technological advancements that focus on usability and real-world applications. So why, you might ask, did it take them so long to acknowledge menstruation?
One of the Conference’s revelations is the new version of the HealthKit, to be installed during the next software update on phones everywhere. The HealthKit already takes into account fitness, nutrition, sleep, vitamin D, blood alcohol content, and soon – your period.
The full capability of the HealthKit has not been publicized yet, but critics around the world are acknowledging that Apple is finally fulfilling this long overdue service. The fact that Apple, a male dominated company has failed for so long to include any mention of menstruation on the iPhone implies systemic sexism – a criticism that they would probably not like to be connected with. At Apple, only 30% of the employees are female. By putting women executive on the forefront of this year’s conference it’s clear that Apple is trying to amend for past omissions.
You can expect big things from the iOS9 – in fact, Apple is banking on it. In recent years, Apple has received flack for not taking into account women’s health issues. And period tracking is just the tip of the iceberg. Critics are chastising Apple for including variables such as selenium and copper intake before taking into account women’s reproductive health.
While Apple was pretty hush hush about just what the menstruation tracker on the HealthKit will involve, it’s safe to assume it will be focused on fertility. While many of the apps that already exist focus on pregnancy avoidance, Apple seems to be taking a different approach.
Apple is no stranger to accusations of their sexist programming. Even Siri, the every helpful resource that she is has been at the brunt of this criticism. In this article, the author lays out how Siri seems to be incapable of providing help when it comes to women’s reproductive health. However, she will tell you where the nearest escort service is.
From birth control pills, to condoms, and abortion clinics, Siri was unhelpful. In a statement by Apple Spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, she states that these were not intentional omissions, simply unfortunate oversights. The author though sees this as the problem at the root of the matter. “The problem is that the very real and frequent concerns of women simply don’t rise to the level of a priority for the programmers.” She goes on to say that “….even though more women use contraception than men use Viagra.” Good point, and it seems that Apple is finally taking notice.