top of page

The Extraordinary Economic Impact of Investing in Women’s Health



Intro

The return on investing in girls and women could be one of the greatest economic decisions we can make in our lifetime.

Yet the World Health Organization’s 2023 goal to achieve Health For All recognizes that this reality is not possible without supporting women’s health as a priority.

Women’s health impacts so much of our economic system. Advocating for women sparks a cycle of growth and prosperity, one that repeats and touches many aspects of life. This is because women often support the causes for society to foster positive growth and gain wealth sustainably.

But we won’t be able to do that if women are sick, if they’re dying, and if we solely depend on any one group to take on this endeavor.

Women are Powerful Catalysts for the U.S. Economy

Let’s start with a reminder of how women impact our economy on a daily basis, solely based on their spending power—which is major and undeniable.

85% of consumer spending in the U.S. is influenced or controlled by women, and women’s labor force participation is at 77%, which has hit a new high as of January 2023. Plus, the percentage of working mothers has increased, making it critical to support the intersections of the working parent lives.

But there have been many challenges that have thrown women’s lives and decisions off balance, creating a volatile economy over the last decade.

In addition to the various personal and professional setbacks women experienced caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 was a collective blow to the years of advocating for women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, with many policies revoked upon its announcement and rightfully sending many into panic.

Women’s health and autonomy not only directly correlates to individual well-being, but the well-being of our economy and communities. Without the right and ability to make informed choices based on a woman’s specific circumstances and priorities, we hold everyone back.

How Women’s Health & Wellbeing Benefits the Economy (and Everyone Else)

Women are the backbone of our economic health.

Their family planning, labor, and lifestyle decisions have always been central to the fabric of our society. Without the necessary structures to consistently support their health and wellbeing, major loss occurs across the board.

Women have been shown to support the causes that instigate positive generational change, including mental health and education, and other initiatives that center community and youth. Men statistically do not contribute to these issues to the same extent.

That is why women’s health means wealth and success for everyone—not only for women’s benefit.

Here are just a few of the areas that suffer when women aren’t given access to the resources or support they need to take care of themselves:

Productivity. Workplace productivity drops when women aren’t able to focus or be present due to their health issues and a lack of treatment or access. Hormones, pregnancy, chronic pain, and more are not taken seriously enough, but they create a tangible effect on the workforce.

Take menopause, for example: it’s been estimated that due to healthcare costs and lost productivity, the global economic impact of menopause is $150 billion. Women have quit or considered quitting their jobs due to their unique health concerns, including mental health and burnout, with lost productivity that accounts for $1.7 trillion each year in the U.S.

Education. Women’s equity and success starts at school. The right information and resources play a key role in women maintaining their mental and physical health from early on, and even something as basic as providing access to menstrual care products can help decrease female student absences and strengthen a young girl’s educational experience.

Comprehensive sex education can help young girls better navigate interpersonal relationships and prevent teen pregnancies, both which help women further their education and achieve economic independence.

Healthcare. Existing gaps in our healthcare system are further exacerbated when you factor in gender-based inequalities, as well as race and class-based disparities. Preventative and proactive services can help with early detection, treatment, prevention or effective management of diseases that impact a woman’s quality of life. Health issues like menstrual disorders, PCOS, endometriosis; chronic diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disorders and heart disease; as well as, unintended pregnancies, pregnancy loss, and infertility can significantly detour, hault or create extreme friction to a woman being able to participate fully in daily life at work and at home.

Family. Health is the cornerstone to a thriving family. Women make up the majority of caretakers at home, and their maternal health journeys are central in cultivating a balanced life at home for their children and families. Raising children alongside their partners might be a woman’s greatest investment and contribution to society. Investing in the tools for women’s health and well-being can have positive ripple effects on generational wealth, micro-economy building at the local and community level as well as entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship. With all of the above, women are better equipped to start and grow their own businesses, which in turn contribute to the local economy, create jobs, and reinvest earnings back into communities for long-term economic impact. Women-led businesses employed 10.1 million workers and accumulated $1.8 trillion in receipts in 2019. We also know that women entrepreneurs are more likely to donate to charity, volunteer their time, and mentor other entrepreneurs, which can contribute to community development.

We have a shared responsibility to help women. Here is how we can make it happen.

Where Investments in Women Health Matters

The easy answer? Everywhere—but these are specific ways where your time, attention, and money will most significantly improve women’s quality of life and in turn, our economy’s:

Research. Women have been excluded from research since the beginning of scientific studies, with male physiology taking priority and being assumed as an equal translation of results for women. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and this mistake has caused countless suffering and subsequent issues for women navigating their personal health journeys.

The first recommendation is to fund and expand research centered around women’s health and diseases to better observe, understand, and improve care on a foundational level. Investing in women’s health research impacts the process of data, education, doctors, and then patients, helping close gaps and provide the care women need and deserve. A recent estimated $300 million investment into research focused on women could yield a $13 billion economic return.

Start-Ups. Tech has seen an overwhelmingly positive influx of women stepping up to create and lead the female-focused initiatives that our healthcare and government systems have failed to prioritize. 2022 saw an unmatched increase in female-founded start-ups, with interest and capital following suit.

Still, there is an incredible need for angel investors to show financial support and commitment. From abortion care to reproductive diseases and everything in between, there are various femtech companies that are one check away from making an even larger impact on women’s health across the U.S. If you don’t know who they are, let’s connect!

Employers. I recently wrote a blog outlining the different aspects of an employer’s benefits package to consider that relate to women’s health, family planning, and reproductive support. Health care options, paid time off, parental leave, and many other aspects of an employee’s work contract will have a direct influence on how women live, work, and succeed.

If you donate to corporations or sit on a board that influences executive decisions, your leadership holds weight. Read the article to learn more about a holistic benefits package to better advocate for women’s health and family planning.

The Bottom Line

We need more support for women’s health and wellbeing.

Investing in women and women’s health is not a trend. The European Investment Bank’s report on Funding Women Entrepreneurs states that greater gender diversity could lead to a potential increase of 26% of annual global GDP and USD 160 trillion of human capital wealth, and could enhance business performance by 15%.

This is a legitimate economic need and opportunity. Investing in women means you never miss an opportunity for economic growth or freedom.

So the sooner we invest, the stronger and better we will all be for it.

32 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page