Invest in women’s health to boost global economy by $1 trillion annually by 2040

New WEF-McKinsey report calls for efforts to add an average of seven days of healthy living for each woman annually.

A new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with the McKinsey Health Institute, suggests addressing the “women’s health gap” has the potential to boost the global economy by a staggering $1 trillion annually by 2040.

While women do, on average, live longer than men, the report focuses on the fact that women spend 25% more of their lives in a state of debilitating health. It suggests that addressing key gaps could potentially reduce the time women spend in poor health by almost two-thirds, allowing 3.9 billion women to live healthier, higher-quality lives.

The researchers propose adding an average of seven days of healthy living for each woman annually, which could lead to increased workforce participation, contributing at least $1 trillion annually to the global economy by 2040. Of that $1 trillion, the report’s authors say, “the largest impact would be created from women having fewer health conditions, letting them avoid 24 million life years lost due to disability and boosting economic productivity by up to $400 billion.”

To achieve these benefits, the report identifies several components that need to be addressed, including scientific understanding, gender-specific data collection, access to care, and investment in women’s health conditions.

The report recommends action on five fronts:

  1. Invest in women-centric research: Focus on under-researched, often undiagnosed women-specific conditions, and diseases affecting women differently.
  2. Strengthen data collection: Improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of sex- and gender-specific data to provide a more accurate representation of women’s health burden.
  3. Increase access to women-specific care: From prevention to treatment, ensure access to specialized care.
  4. Create incentives for innovation: Encourage investment in areas of women’s health innovation and develop new financing models.
  5. Implement supportive policies: Adapt medical school curricula, and create workplaces that accommodate pregnancy and menopause, fostering a women-friendly environment.

In addition to the potential economic benefits and improving the quality of life for women, the report also suggests that addressing the health gap could create “positive ripples in society, such as improving future generations’ health and boosting healthy aging.”