Speech: The Women’s March on Austin

Alley Lyles, our Marketing Director, was part of the Women’s March on Austin on October 17, 2020. Unfortunately, she never stood in front of the microphone to deliver the brief speech. Two violent right-wing groups swarmed the stage to intimidate peaceful speakers, attendees, and allies alike before the event began.

The rowdy March crashers spewed hate speech to degrade women and disrespect the March’s intention: to bring awareness to women’s issues and what needs to be done to advance women.

Before being ushered away by the vigilant, peacekeeping Austin police, Alley grabbed a microphone (very angrily) and said, “Women’s health is everyone’s health.” She felt lost, upset, violated, and confused. Unable to understand why these people, who are birthed by women, would be so ungrateful.

Every woman’s voice is a gigantic microphone. Every time we show up and demand equality, it is a protest. This why we march and innovate; this is why FemTech Focus fosters innovation in femtech; this is why we keep moving. The folks who stormed the stage aimed to intimidate physically and emotionally.

Funny enough, the sad hatred at the March never deterred Alley; it made her more determined.

Thank you for attending. It’s an honor to be here. I am Alley Lyles, Marketing Director at FemTech Focus, We’re a non-profit organization supporting technology, services, and products that improve women’s health and wellness. 

At FemTech Focus, we are…

  • Empowering the femtech industry through increased awareness
  • Providing resources to femtech entrepreneurs
  • Creating opportunities to support femtech startups through exposure, networking, and access to capital. 

At FemTech Focus, we believe women’s health and wellness is everyone’s health and wellness. But, unfortunately, some people do not feel the same way as we do. 

Entrepreneurs innovate when they do not see something in the market that is needed. Women’s health is a woefully neglected sector—both in terms of medical research and technological advances—at least, until now. 

Femtech represents a movement to make and invest in healthcare solutions that take into account women’s needs. There have been a number of female-centric healthcare apps, tackling issues including infertility, menstrual health, birth control, and sexual wellness.

Femtech-ers are out here addressing our health needs. 

  • UTIs affect 50% of all women and 2nd the most common infection in the U.S.

A femtech company addressing this is Uqora.

  • 19 million women in the U.S. live in contraceptive deserts. 

A femtech company addressing this is Twentyeight Health.  

  • Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C.

A femtech company addressing this is Bloomlife.

We’re here filled with determination and vigor. One thing I would encourage everyone here to do is refine the ask. People know that we are here; we make up half the globe. But, what are we asking for? It helps people know how to support. 

What are you doing here? What are you marching for? What is your ask?

At FemTech Focus, we are asking for

  • Partnerships 
  • Donations 
  • Joining us in the battle-cry to improve women’s health and wellness

Finally, in the vein of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we ask that in the midst of innovation that our brethren take their feet off our necks. 

BIG change takes time. But, there’s one thing you can do that requires relatively little time: VOTE! If you are able to, vote. I voted today and I feel better for it.

Locally, we are not at a loss for reputable voting resources. The HOPE Campaign and The Austin Common are collaborating to explain the voting process in positive and non-partisan ways. 

Vote for the people you want to see in office; the people who will advocate for our well-being. And then, let’s go out for change together.