When a woman is in charge of her reproductive destiny, she is healthier and more resilient. And the benefits for a sustainable world ripple on. Empowering women is a powerful achievement. Fast Company’s Ben Schiller highlights the findings of the study noting the negative impact of care-giving on economic participation.
A report from Booz & Company shows that employing women in equal numbers to men could raise the United States’ GDP by 5%, Japan’s by 9%, the United Arab Emirates’ by 12%, and Egypt’s by a jaw-dropping 34%. “Even small increases in the opportunities available to women, and some release of the cultural and political constraints that hold them back, can lead to dramatic economic and social benefits,” it says.
Read the full report here.
Choice matters when it comes to determining to having children. This story from Malawi tells of the young couple Marda and Alfred. We see how the choice of when to have children improves their lives. The video from the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health goes further to show the challenges that families face in accessing family planning services and contraceptives.
Funding by the United States for family planning has a giant positive impact. With the White House releasing its budget request for fiscal year 2014 and the budget debates heating up, now seems like a good time to look at what investments in reproductive health enables.
A total of $610 million was allocated to family planning and reproductive health services in the 2012 budget according to the Guttmacher Institute:
- 31.6 million women and couples receive contraceptive services and supplies;
- 9.4 million unintended pregnancies, including 4.1 million unplanned births, are averted;
- 4 million induced abortions are averted (3 million of them unsafe);
- 22,000 maternal deaths are averted;
- 2.8 million fewer healthy years of life (DALYs) are lost among women; and
- 96,000 fewer children lose their mothers.
Increasing spending will expand access and services and cuts will lead to declines. It is as simple as that. A mere $10 million in the budget for family planning means
- 520,000 fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies;
- 150,000 more unintended pregnancies, including 70,000 more unplanned births, would occur;
- 70,000 more abortions would take place (of which 50,000 would be unsafe);
- 400 more maternal deaths would occur;
- 50,000 more DALYs would be lost; and
- 2,000 more children would lose their mothers.
Every little bit counts!
By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI
Private capital is needed to test and develop proof that existing health solutions can be adapted to a developing world context. Once this proof is established, the solution has the power to unlock the large-scale government funding needed to dramatically improve health across the developing world.
As demonstrated in a new report released this week by PSI’s Impact magazine and Devex, in partnership with Fenton Communications, the landscape for global health financing has changed dramatically. High-income governments that provide foreign aid for health have steadily increased their support over the last decade. That support is now leveling or shrinking due to budget constraints. Governments are under increased pressure to reduce risk and ensure that all public funds for foreign aid are invested in solutions that guarantee results.
As a result, corporations, foundations and philanthropists are now taking an active role to help protect the progress already made against serious threats to health and economies like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and lack of access to family planning, which remain as urgent as ever. They are providing private capital to fund the type of innovation that governments cannot afford to advance on their own.
Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President & Chief Liaison Officer, PSI
As we celebrate last week’s inauguration and the 113th Congress’ first few weeks in session, I naturally reflect on the last couple of years. The 112th Congress was full of intense debates, a consuming election and suitably ended with a dramatic, last-minute deal on the fiscal cliff. Thankfully, global health retained strong bipartisan support during even the gravest times of political and economic uncertainty. Looking forward, PSI is encouraged by this new Congress’ potential support of global health programs.
The 113th Congress has an incredible opportunity to expand the global health progress of its predecessors. Each congressional member is in a uniquely powerful position to shape the health, and, ultimately, the future of millions of people globally. With Washington increasingly under attack, the 113th has a chance to show the American people how U.S. foreign assistance saves lives with efficient, transparent and cost-effective solutions.
Women around the world continue to face an uneven playing field in education, employment, earnings and decision-making power. A World Bank report from 2012 presented evidence that ensuring that the world’s 3.5 billion women have equal opportunities can be global economic boon. The Seattle Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID) is partnering with the SID Washington, DC Chapter for a special bi-coastal event that will discuss the intersection between health and women’s economic empowerment. A video feed will link the audiences and two speakers in each location. PSI President and CEO Karl Hofmann is scheduled to join the conversation from Washington DC with other global health experts and activists.
Click below for further details on the event if you want to attend the even to see how global health initiatives are working together with increase economic opportunities to both improve the well being of and empower women.
2012 may be remembered for many things good and bad, but one undeniably positive story is the way in which family planning and women’s reproductive choices and rights came back into the sunlight after too many years in the shadows of the global health and development agenda.
The July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning featured pledges of new resources to help some of the 220 million women in the world who want the means to plan the timing and size of their families, but aren’t able. But even more crucial than new money was new advocacy. Presidents Kikwete of Tanzania, Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda took the podium personally to embrace the cause of saving women’s lives through access to modern contraception, as did Melinda Gates, whose powerful leadership voice will resonate for years on this topic.
Malawian president Joyce Banda sat down with CSIS to chat about how to support women’s empowerment in Malawi. She points to the importance of ensuring that women are healthy and have adequate services as a key part of supporting their empowerment.
“It is only when a women is economically empowered that she begins to make critical decisions about her health…I have found in the many years I have worked with women that when a women is economically empowered that she can negotiate at household level with her husband about the number of children that body of hers can have,” explains Banda.
By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO, PSI. This originally appeared in Devex.
Each year, billions of dollars in foreign aid are earmarked for various global health priorities. The process by which any given health area ascends to priority status may vary with context, but as a global health community, we shoulder a collective responsibility to target our efforts based on reliable data that point to where the need is greatest.
Think of global health spending as denominated in different “currencies” — not dollars, pounds or euros, but impact based on disease burdens. Is there higher mortality from respiratory infection and pneumonia than, say, diarrhea in your country? Then interventions against pneumonia will have a higher value in terms of saving lives. When the United States uncoupled the dollar from the gold standard in the 1970s, global currencies floated free and had to find their own relative value against one another. In global health, we are on the cusp of a periodic revaluing moment, one in which our standard unit of measure is being reset.