A news article published by the World Economic Forum for International Women's Day showcased six health industry leaders discussing their work to promote gender equality and the health of women and girls. The leaders came from a variety of different disciplines such as academia, health technology, and the pharmaceutical industry but all spoke of the importance of addressing the gender health gap for sustainable development following the COVID-19 global pandemic.
"A report from McKinsey Global Institute estimates that taking actions now in advancing gender equality could contribute to adding $13 trillion to global GDP in 2030."
The World Economic Forum has set a goal of improving outcomes linked to gender equality for women and girls around the world, especially those in lower-middle-income countries who have been most affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has increased the gender gap for the world's most vulnerable women by 36 years.
Each industry leader that was interviewed described their specific goal on how they plan to improve health and gender equality outcomes for women and girls around the world.
"We have to model the change we want to see"
- Susanne Schaffert, President of Novartis Oncology
For instance, the first person interviewed was Stephen P. MacMillan, the CEO of Hologic Inc. (a pharmaceutical company). His company helped to conduct a global study of women's health. The results of the study will be used in a public-private partnership with the World Economic Forum to improve women's access to education and reproductive health solutions and address gender-based violence.
Other industry leaders have come up with creative and unique approaches to tackling the numerous health issues that interfere with the daily lives of women and girls all over the globe.
Dr. Sandra Brooks of Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and the Sidney Kimmel College of Medicine, highlighted the ways in which women of colour were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. She discussed the need for collaborations between businesses and institutions that could address disparities in access to healthcare and other social determinants of health.
To ensure that the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is sustainable, gender equality must become a priority. To do this, we must focus on women's health.