Women’s Contribution to Healthcare Constitutes Nearly Five Percent of Global GDP, but Nearly Half Unpaid, Unrecognized
Monday, June 8, 2015
A major new Commission on women and health has found that women are contributing around $3 trillion to global health care, but nearly half of this (2.35% of global GDP) is unpaid and unrecognised.
Published in The Lancet, the Commission offers one of the most exhaustive analyses to date of the evidence surrounding the complex relationships between women and health, and demonstrates that women’s distinctive contribution to society is under-recognised and undervalued—economically, socially, politically, and culturally.
The report underlines that women are important providers as much as recipients of health care, and that globally, their changing needs in both of these respects are not being met.
According to Professor Ana Langer, head of the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, USA, who co-led the commission, “Too often, women’s health is essentially equated to maternal and reproductive health. However, the evidence outlined by this Commission overturns this conventional interpretation, and we urge the global health community and policymakers worldwide to embrace a more holistic – and realistic – understanding of women and health. It’s time to acknowledge women’s comprehensive health needs throughout their lives, and their productive contributions to health care and society as a whole, as well as their similarly important roles as mothers and homemakers.”
The Commission, which brought together leading thinkers, heads of programmes, and activists from around the world, examines the complex links between biological, economic and social factors in improving women’s health throughout their lives – including the substantial effects of rapid globalisation, urbanisation, and climate change, all of which have inequitable effects on women’s health.
According to Professor Afaf Meleis from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, USA, who co-led the Commission with Langer, “Often urban areas are developed without any input from women, and without addressing their needs for adequate lighting, safe transportation, access to healthy food, to infrastructures that promote community connectivity, and to integrated health care, child and elderly care. This puts women at increased risk of violence, non-communicable diseases and stressful life overload, which may in turn have adverse consequences for their families.”
- Health Care