March 2, 2021

Privacy Blog

Radical Transparency matters to My Normative.

My Normative was founded by two feminist researchers whose ethics data security values were formed around the professional standards demanded of them as health researchers. Our founders carry these standards into every business practice and ensure our organization’s actions meet strict ethical guidelines. 

We value radical transparency at My Normative. We care about you. We care about your privacy. We will tell you when things change, why they’re changing, and how that could impact your data. 

Fitness tracking devices on the market today have the capacity to record highly sensitive personal information, such as the geo-locations of where you exercise, what time of day you exercise, and for how long. We understand that as a women your privacy hasn’t always been valued and trusting an app to hold this type of information can be terrifying. We want you to know that My Normative is committed to protecting this sensitive information. 

We believe the only one who should have access to your identifying data is you. We use Google Cloud technologies to ensure all data is properly encrypted and securely stored. The cloud containing user data and information is only used to enhance your app experience by providing you with your own personal data and insights. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t look at, touch, or have any contact with identifiable information. 

We have developed a separate cloud environment containing only de-identified information, strictly for our app’s machine learning. De-identification processes occur before the data even gets to this cloud, so no individual’s data could ever be tracked back to them. 

We don’t ask for this information out of curiosity or profitability, but out of necessity. By providing us with your personal data, you are allowing us to provide more accurate predictive health results for you, the user and further our development in female health research.

Just by using the My Normative app, you are literally advancing science. And you are doing so at no risk to yourself. Your personal information is completely de-identified and cannot be sold to third parties. Period. (no pun intended).

Science, Feminism, and Love.

December 18, 2020

What My Normative is doing to give back to the community that raised us.

Small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. More than twice as many SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) have been affected, and, according to Statistics Canada, the revenue decline they've experienced is at least 20% worse (Statistics Canada, 2020)!

Even more, the impact on small businesses owned by women is disproportionately worse. This comes down to a couple of things. One is that women-owned SME's tend to dominate industries that involve some form of human interaction i.e. education or social assistance, causing longer shutdowns. The other is that lack of adequate child care in lockdown has forced working mothers to step away from work. 

Not only this, but “Women business owners were already challenged by lack of access to capital and greater caretaking responsibilities, and these challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Nancy Wilson, Founder and CEO, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The business obstacles women have faced in the past have only gotten worse!

My Normative wants to help in the small way we can to get small businesses back on their feet. Kicking off in January, we are launching a small business campaign. For an entire year, we are offering $10,000 of free ad space within our mobile app. As we grow our community and get users onto the My Normative app, we want to showcase your company, your business - all that you have worked for. It’s the least we can do as My Normative continues to grow in such uncertain times. For all businesses struggling through the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we hope to get you in front of our audience!

The campaign launches in January, and our app goes live on March 8th, 2021 – International Women’s Day. If you know a small-medium business owner who has been impacted by covid-19, someone who works predominantly with women, or who focuses on women’s health objectives, we would love, love, love to be able to do something for that person! Send them our way! If you are one of these business owners, let’s get in touch! Contact us at hello@mynormative.ca and we can grow our communities together!

Science, Feminism and Love.

Cited:

Stats Canada: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2020001/article/00056-eng.htm

December 4, 2020

The menstrual cycle: more than just your period.

Hormones are the chemical messengers that help our body communicate and regulate our body’s processes – hunger, sleep, blood pressure etc. Science is very aware of how most of these hormones function and impact the human body. Take adrenaline, for example. It’s not always present, but when our body releases it, it’s obvious. We’ve all heard stories when people have thrown entire vehicles off themselves, people who’ve swam to shore after being bit by a shark etc. – all because of the adrenaline hormone. Everyone agrees that while it’s active, it has obvious effects on our entire body. Everyone agrees that when other hormones such as cortisol, insulin, melatonin etc. are released, they too have obvious effects!  

So why, when discussing the two hormones; estrogen and progesterone, do we not consider them through this lens? Science only focuses on the way they affect the female reproductive system. Why not focus on the way they impact the rest of our body and our behaviour? Estrogen and progesterone make us grow entire organs during pregnancy... it’s foolish to think they don’t do anything other than make us ovulate or make us get our period. Your period and ovulation are only symptoms of these hormone shifts. To name a few others, changes in body temperature, BMR, production of lactic acid, hunger cues, sleep habits, energy levels, etc., are all symptoms in response to changes in estrogen and progesterone levels throughout your cycle! 

One of the consequences of the work we’re doing at My Normative is that we’ll be able to extrapolate the effects of these hormones on your body across time. This adds value by helping people understand the reasons for changes in how they feel on a week to week basis. But more than that, it will help to inform data research on mental health, on why cardiovascular disease, the biggest killer in the USA, is 2x more likely to occur in women. It will inform researchers on why 2/3 of all Alzheimer’s patients are women, and finally, on why 80% of people with autoimmune diseases are women. This research has real implications on our health, on our future! 

Click here to add your name to our waitlist.

Science, Love, and Feminism! 

November 13, 2020

Less than 15% of the population has a 28-day cycle…

One of the biggest mistakes in health tracking software is the assumption that every person using it has a 28-day menstrual cycle. Even when you specify that your cycle is a little bit longer or shorter, these apps still scale to this “normal” standard. This makes period trackers inaccurate and far too general - rendering them useless if you ask us. Less than 15% of the population has this “normal” cycle length!

During your menstrual cycle, your body completes very specific tasks. The time it takes to complete each task varies per individual and this is why a woman’s cycle can be anywhere from 21 to 42 days. 

At My Normative, we look at your normal (hence our name, My Normative!). Yes, women tend to have more energy levels in week two of their cycle. But do YOU have more energy in week two of your cycle? What if your normal is that you feel sluggish at that time? What if it’s different for you every month? You need an interpretation of your data that compares you to yourself, not to other women, and definitely not to a typical, 75kg, 23 year old male!

Our app also includes a great general insights page. There, you’ll find typical observances that women have about their bodies throughout their cycle. Women (at no fault of their own) are undereducated in their own physiology. Though general, these insights are important as they educate us on how female hormones impact appetite, sleep habits and activity levels.

More importantly, the more you use the My Normative app the more these insights will tailor to you and your own experience. It is so useful to have original data that isn’t only collected and stored by an app, but relayed back to you in a way that makes sense.

Here’s to reclaiming what normal really means for you!

Click here to add your name to our waitlist

Science, Love, and Feminism! 

November 5, 2020

A Conversation With My Normative’s Business Developer, Nina Hill.

We asked her: Why the startup life? Everything is on fire, and you’re probably putting in double the amount of work hours. What makes the work worth doing?

Nina’s never been one to take the safe route, the low-risk bet, the easy way. When the opportunity at My Normative came, she saw the vision of the company and knew she had to get behind it. It’s a higher risk than the steady 9-5 corporate job but the reward is to work for a company making a huge impact. 

During her first interview, Danika told Nina “If My Normative ceased to exist as a company, we would have left an impact”. This impact is what makes it worthwhile. Nina says “What we do at My Normative is meaningful, and it’s legit. We didn’t have to tackle women’s representation in medicine and health across the world. But here we are. We say what we’re gonna do, and we act on it.” It’s easy to work hard at something you care about!

How do you balance life and work? “I don't,” She says. “I don’t ever want to feel like I have to separate work life from social life. I want to feel like I have a job that allows me to have a social life at the same time. I’m happy to work on a Saturday if it means I get to work with Danika and Renee or other work partners. I"m happy go for a walk (maybe a run? 😉 ) while talking business. It doesn’t need to be split up. It can all be one mix of life, work, social life, exercise, etc. I like to be able to surround myself with people who care about what I do. Whether it's friends, co-workers, life partners, etc..Working for a company you can do this with is so important.”

The takeaway? “In a world where we constantly have to ask, “What the hell is next?”, it’s important to find an organization or a hobby, that makes an impact not just in your life but in other people’s lives. There’s so much uncertainty. What’s valuable is to find something you’re good at – something you love to do and then incorporate it into all aspects of life. That’s my best advice for a recent grad or really anyone, at any age. Find your passion and make it work for your lifestyle!”

Click here to add your name to our waitlist.

Science, Love, and Feminism!  

November 5, 2020

What The Heck Is Beta Testing???

In a nutshell, it’s a validation process.

We saw an enormous problem - female erasure in modern medicine and decided to tackle it. Our focus is on health tracking software, to contextualize and integrate female-specific metrics. But how will we actually go about offering this solution to the people who need it? How can we show that yes, in fact, a smartphone app is the best way to deliver the solution? How will we know which features you care about? How will we measure if our designing process is on the right track?

We beta test! The beta testing phase of a product is the trial period in its final development stages. Beta testers are real users who uncover any bugs before the product goes to market.

At My Normative, we’ve recruited groups of women like you to test the preview version of our app and let us know what’s working and what isn’t. This feedback ensures we’re building something you actually find useful, something that actually addresses the root problem – your smart watch is measuring you as a small man because there’s quite literally no data in modern medicine for how to accurately track your period and menstrual cycle. So yeah, it’s kind of important.

Beta testing also makes sure our app’s machine learning gets to know our users. We need a diverse population of women to train the algorithms to avoid the incredibly vague “your period could start any time in the next two weeks” notification trackers currently offer (insert eye roll here). The more testers, the more accurate the algorithm! 

This may sound like a lot! But in reality, for each tester, it boils down to clicking around the My Normative app and answering a few questions every couple weeks. We care about your time!

So go ahead, join the beta before the end of the week! We have achieved our goal and will be closing the beta list this Friday, November 6th, for early adopters. We will start a waiting list for the application itself, which is coming soon! 

Sign up here!

Have any questions, any feedback?

Please, let us know!

Send us DM on Instagram @my.normative, or email us hello@mynormative.ca

Science, Love, and Feminism!  

October 21, 2020

Instagram Live Update!

Hey There! 

In case you missed last week's Instagram live, or you are just like us, and prefer to read about exciting and interesting information, welcome to the blog. 

Grab a coffee and try to imagine us figuring out our first Instagram live session, as Danika’s dog tried to steal the show 😉

We had tons of great questions from our audience regarding the founder story, general insights, and of course beta testing. 

My Normative was started because it was the solution that we were looking for when we were athletes. Now, it's the solution we're looking for as women trying to stay active. Integrating female-specific metrics means your health-tracking software could answer questions like: “How does your menstrual cycle impact your performance? Your motivation? Your lactic acid creation? Your weight, etc.?”

As we currently track female health, none of this is taken into consideration. Instead, when you select “female” when setting up your apps and watches, it measures you as a small male.For better or for worse, these apps are made by and for men. With male problems, male measurements, and male testing in mind. There’s no malice in it, but women get left out.

Women’s hormones are considered “complicated and deviant”. This “deviance and complication” has never really been studied. It’s a vicious circle - things are going on that we don’t understand, so we don’t include them in science and research. Then, because we’ve never included them in science and research, we don’t understand them. They continue to be hard, deviant, complicated, and not understood. 

The My Normative mission is about breaking this cycle.

With the My Normative app launching on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2021!

We want to make sure your voice is heard. How? By joining the beta testing list, or the beta testing waitlist. 

You might be asking yourself, why am I on a waiting list?! Our best answer is, If, for example you’re a perimenopausal woman, we will place you on the waiting list because we aren’t equipped to address your needs yet. The research around it just isn’t there - it’s awful. So, to start tackling female erasure in western modern medicine, we’ll have you first designing the interfaces with us. Know that once we have the right technology for you to test, we will reach out and get you helping us with our app interventions!

We want to hit a medically unidentifiable population by December 31st! We need over 3,000 women beta testers. So Grab your friends, sisters, mothers, and any genetically diverse woman you know. Send this to them and be a part of our movement. 

Click here to add your name to our waitlist

Science, Love, and Feminism!  

September 15, 2020

Hello world

Are you here after the IBM conference? Great! Cause we got up super early to make sure we released this blog post right-on-time for you.

Welcome!

Here’s the crash course on My Normative Inc.:

  • We’re founded by two womxn scientists
  • They probably drink too much coffee
  • The MYNORMATIVE software is going to change how womxn are represented… not just in health trackers… but in modern western medicine. Yeah, we know, it’s a big deal.
  • And finally, because we’re chronically pessimistic people, we’re SUPER passionate about going above and beyond with data security—especially for vulnerable people. This passion for excellence in data security drove our application to (and acceptance to) the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator program!  

We are excited to participate in this program to further enact our vision, where women's health and wellbeing are a priority, not an after-thought.

But, you already knew that. And if not, welcome to the new normal.

Welcome to My Normative Inc.

Kick your feet up, join the revolution… and for the love of all that is holy, sign up for our newsletter.