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Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 17 January 2024 – A new World Economic Forum report released today shows that closing the women’s health gap would allow more women to live healthier, higher-quality lives, and provide an unprecedented boost to the global economy.
Closing the Women’s Health Gap: A $1 Trillion Opportunity to Improve Lives and Economies, developed in collaboration with the McKinsey Health Institute, analyses the health conditions that uniquely or disproportionately affect women and quantifies the health gap today and the potential economic boon of bridging it tomorrow. Addressing shortcomings – which limit the ability of many women to engage in the workforce and earn a living for themselves and their families – could reduce the time women spend in poor health by almost two-thirds, improve the health outcomes and daily lives of over 3.9 billion people, and add $1 trillion to the economy annually by 2040.
“Our analysis demonstrates that addressing the women’s health gap and investing in women’s health must be a priority for every country,” said Shyam Bishen, Head of the Centre for Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum. “Beyond improving women’s quality of life, ensuring women have access to innovations in healthcare is one of the best investments that countries can make for their societies and their economies.”
Critically, better health is correlated with economic prosperity. According to the report, women on average spend 25% more of their lives in poor health than men. Closing the health gap facing women globally could lead to a 1.7% increase in per capita GDP, with every $1 invested in these efforts potentially unlocking $3 in economic growth. It urges for greater access to gender-specific care and calls on industry leaders to create new financing models and innovative business policies, with broad multi-sector collaboration highlighted as a crucial step towards achieving these goals.
“Investing in women’s health goes far beyond individual women. It is a direct investment in families, communities, societies and economies,” said Anita Zaidi, President, Gender Equality Division, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Our collective future rests on closing the women’s health gap.”
In response to the report findings, and to bridge the women’s health gap, the World Economic Forum has launched the Global Alliance for Women’s Health, a multi-sector global platform that is centred on evidence that investing in women’s health would not only improve billions of individual lives, but also provide a revolutionary economic boon for societies and economies as a whole.
42 organizations have expressed interest in joining the alliance, including government leaders and representatives from the private sector, entertainment industry and philanthropic space. Together they will pledge new commitments to advance the alliance’s priorities across three pillars: financing, science and innovation, and agenda-setting. Key partners have already announced $55 million in pledges to improve women’s health outcomes and shape a new future for women’s health across the world.
Key commitments towards women’s health include:
“Quality, affordable and accessible healthcare, particularly in the context of women's health, is a critical aspect of ensuring the well-being of women,” said Nisia Trindade Lima, Minister of Health of Brazil. “This is a critical moment for a greater mobilization across sectors to invest in women’s health, keeping in mind the imperatives of equity and integral care.”
The Global Alliance for Women’s Health alliance will be guided by an influential, multi-sector governing board that is made up of world leaders representing the diversity of stakeholders that must be involved to advance investments in women’s health.
Trindade Lima and Zaidi will serve as co-chairs of the alliance board.
The board is also joined by Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF; Elisabeth Staudinger, Member of the Board, Siemens Healthineers; Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Minister of Economy and Finance of Morocco; Nakhumicha S. Wafula, Cabinet Secretary for Health of Kenya; Shyam Bishen, Head of Health and Healthcare Centre, World Economic Forum; Per Falk, President, Ferring Pharmaceuticals; and Victor Dzau, President, National Academy of Medicine.
The alliance signals a growing commitment to prioritizing, protecting, and promoting the health of women and closing the health gap. All World Economic Forum members are invited to join the health alliance.
About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024, taking place on 15-19 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme “Rebuilding Trust.” For further information, click here.
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