By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver
In November 2010, GBCHealth (formerly the Global Business Coalition) launched a cross-sectoral initiative, Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (HHWE), to highlight the importance of investing in the health of girls and women in order to promote economic sustainability and growth. Each HHWE corporation works to strengthen their programs while also collaborating with other partners to learn ways in which they can invest better in girls and women through the development of best practices and strategic innovations.
The partnership between GBCHealth, the U.S. State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues, and companies including Coca Cola and Chevron (among many others) guides corporate investment to areas where companies can have the most impact: improving health systems, bolstering the health of the female workforce, and supporting girls’ education.
Now, more than ever, we know that investing in girls and women is critical to economic development and a healthier global population. Women operate the majority of small businesses and farms in developing countries and their unpaid work at home accounts for nearly 1/3 of the world’s GDP. We can’t afford to lose women’s contribution to our global economy due to preventable maternal deaths, early marriage, or lack of education. When women are educated, empowered and healthy, our economies, nations, and communities thrive. The private sector should be investing in women, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because there is a direct return on investment.
Over the past year, the initiative has led a series of roundtables for the HHWE members in the areas of family planning, combating gender inequality, gender based violence, girls education, engaging boys and men in women’s health, HIV prevention, and entrepreneurship. The roundtables allow companies to share best practices, analyze their own workplace health programs, and contribute to the knowledge base of private sector solutions. In the coming year, we hope that the partner companies will contribute to global advocacy efforts, launch new initiatives, and bolster their current programs for girls and women.
Healthy Women, Healthy Economies partner companies include: Coca Cola, Chevron, Access, AngloAmerican, AngloGold Ashanti, Bayer, BD, Dow, Intel, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, Merck, and Russell Reynolds Associates.
Check out the initiative here.
Flickr photo by: farmingmatters