Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 17 January 2024 – In a groundbreaking initiative, the World Economic Forum today unveiled a comprehensive report, “Closing the Women’s Health Gap: A $1 Trillion Opportunity to Improve Lives and Economies.” Developed in collaboration with the McKinsey Health Institute, the report shines a spotlight on the pervasive health disparities women face and quantifies the profound economic benefits that could be realized by addressing these challenges.
The report reveals a stark reality: women spend a significant portion of their lives, 25% more than men, in poor health. This gap not only undermines the quality of life for billions of women but also imposes a heavy toll on global economies. The Forum’s new Global Alliance for Women’s Health aims to tackle these disparities head-on, fostering a healthier, more equitable, and economically robust global society.
Shyam Bishen, Head of the Centre for Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum, emphasized the urgency and importance of this initiative, stating, “Our analysis demonstrates that addressing the women’s health gap and investing in women’s health must be a priority for every country. 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.”
The report projects that closing the health gap could lead to a 1.7% increase in per capita GDP and posits that every $1 invested in addressing these health disparities could unlock $3 in economic growth. It calls for enhanced access to gender-specific care and urges industry leaders to forge new financing models and innovative business policies. The initiative underscores the importance of broad multi-sector collaboration to achieve these ambitious goals.
In a resounding endorsement of the initiative, 42 organizations have pledged their support for the Forum’s Global Alliance for Women’s Health, committing a substantial $55 million to enhance women’s health outcomes worldwide. Key stakeholders, including Tower Capital Group and Rotary International, have announced significant commitments, focusing on overcoming barriers in women’s health and supporting health initiatives in countries with the greatest need.
Anita Zaidi, President of the Gender Equality Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlighted the broader implications of this initiative, stating, “Investing in women’s health goes far beyond individual women. It is a direct investment in families, communities, societies, and economies. Our collective future rests on closing the women’s health gap.”
The Global Alliance for Women’s Health is set to be a powerful, multi-sector platform centered on the conviction that investing in women’s health can transform not only individual lives but also propel entire societies and economies forward. The alliance will be steered by an influential governing board, co-chaired by Nisia Trindade Lima and Anita Zaidi, and comprising global leaders committed to fostering investments in women’s health.
As the alliance embarks on this ambitious journey, it signals a growing commitment among global stakeholders to prioritize, protect, and promote women’s health and well-being. The World Economic Forum’s initiative represents a monumental stride towards not just closing the health gap for women but also unlocking a trillion-dollar opportunity to catalyze global economic growth and build a healthier, more equitable future.