Women’s contribution to health care nearly 5% of global GDP

Female doctor with patient in Pakistan
A female doctor examines a woman patient at a mobile health clinic in the village of Goza, near Dadu in Pakistan's Sindh province.

A groundbreaking new report on women and health has found that women are contributing roughly $3 trillion to global health care, but that nearly half of this work—2.35% of global GDP—is unpaid and unrecognized.

The June 5, 2015 Lancet report, issued by the Commission on Women and Health, is being launched the same day at a symposium at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The report 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-recognized and undervalued—economically, socially, politically, and culturally. It examines women’s health needs as well as their critical roles as members of the health workforce and caregivers in their families and communities, and makes recommendations to advance the women and health agenda.

The Commission on Women and Health, co-chaired by Ana Langer, professor of the practice of public health and director of the Women and Health Initiative and Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard Chan School, is a partnership between The Lancet, the Women and Health Initiative, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Other Harvard-affiliated faculty who served as commissioners and authors on the report included Dean Julio Frenk and Professor of Global Health Systems Rifat Atun, both from Harvard Chan School, and Felicia Knaul, associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

Lancet Commission on Women and Health
The Lancet Commission on Women and Health. Harvard-affiliated Commission members include Ana Langer (6th from right), Dean Julio Frenk (far right), Rifat Atun (5th from right), and Felicia Knaul (5th from left).

Read The Lancet press release about the report, which includes links to the report and related Comments: The Lancet: Women’s contribution to healthcare constitutes nearly 5% of global GDP, but nearly half is unpaid and unrecognised

photo of Pakistani health worker: DFID/Russell Watkins/Creative Commons