Female pleasure wins best of hackathon award

From how we describe female athletes, to ad restrictions in the sex toy industry, to the questionable responses infused into artificial intelligence - examples of gender biases, both implicit and explicit, are never hard to find. And while the pesky patriarchy still stands in the way of well… everything… we finally have some good news. 

This September, at the Women’s Largest Hackathon for Women in Stockholm, Sweden, the award went to…. FEMALE PLEASURE! 

The hackathon team, led by The Case for Her, competed against big-name pitches from Mckinsey to Microsoft and took home the winning prize with LUCY: a guided app on sex, wellness, and pleasure for women from menstruation to menopause. “The goal is to give women and girls knowledge about their bodies and their sexual health while breaking down shame and stigma around pleasure,” said TCFH Co-founder and Managing Director Gerda Larrson. 

“Winning felt like a watershed moment for female sexual wellness,” said YLabs Technical Lead Nicole Ippoliti, who joined the team as a mentor and technical advisor. “It was a small but mighty step in breaking the stigma around this global taboo.”

YLabs at STHLM tech fest in Sweden.jpg

Despite significant efforts to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, inextricable components of women’s health and sexual wellness remain suspiciously absent from conversations in the media, reproductive health education, and international development programs. Which is a big problem. After all, how can women learn, talk, and explore their own bodies throughout their lifespan if we can’t even say the word vagina and the idea of menopause fill us with dread?

“It was astounding to see that even in the most liberal and progressive country in the world, female sexual wellness is still a taboo topic,” said Ippoliti. “Women in Sweden were articulating the same needs and pain points that I’ve heard from girls in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. Everyone wants access to credible information about their own health and sexual wellness, and everyone wants to establish connections with other people who are going through the same thing.” 

We were proud to participate in the Hackathon - and we’re just getting started! YLabs and the Case for Her are currently exploring how pleasure-based sex ed has the potential to move the needle on priority health outcomes.

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