4 Ways for the Private Sector to Support Women’s Health

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reflecting on what is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, I am struck by how much work is needed to secure the place of reproductive health in discussions on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

From the United States Chamber of Commerce forum to the U.N. Women and U.N. Global Compact Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles Event, so much of the agenda focuses on supporting and fostering women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship, increasing the representation of women on boards and in the C-suite, and encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. There is no question that these initiatives are of critical importance.

But what about the unique health needs of women and how addressing these needs contributes to their economic empowerment? Women’s reproductive health and family planning are rarely touted as integral elements of corporate empowerment programs that enable women, particularly the poor, to enter and advance in the formal workforce. However, the links between women’s health and their empowerment are well documented, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

McKinsey Global Institute’s “The Power of Parity” report, for example, calls for intensified private sector efforts to harness the economic empowerment of women, and recognizes that access to certain health services, specifically family planning and reproductive health, are “essential services and enablers of economic empowerment.”

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
reproductive health