The United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project (UAP) has issued a call for global and national companies to make new, tangible, and timebound commitments to enhance women’s health, wellbeing, and gender equity in the workplace and throughout global supply chains. In collaboration with international advocacy organization Global Citizen, UAP aims to support companies in shaping these commitments by connecting them with experts, implementing partners, and other resources. These commitments will be announced at the 2024 Global Citizen Festival on September 28 in Central Park, New York City, hosted by Global Citizen Ambassador Hugh Jackman. The initiative is supported by MSD, known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the United States and Canada.

“Worker health is a human right and is critical to productive companies, growing economies, and resilient communities,” said Dilly Severin, Executive Director of the Universal Access Project at the United Nations Foundation. “As we work to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, this is a significant moment to recognize that women in particular face systemic health disparities that are increasingly exacerbated by climate change and other global crises. Corporations must take effective action now to adopt policies and practices that ensure health and wellbeing, and drive equity.”

The 2024 McKinsey Insight Report, “Closing the Women’s Health Gap,” highlights the economic impact of health disparities, noting that women spend 25% more time in ill-health than men. Closing this gap could boost the global economy by $1 trillion through increased participation and productivity in the workforce.

UAP and Global Citizen will assist companies in developing sector-specific, measurable, and sustainable women’s health commitments. These commitments might include new workplace practices to ensure access to health education, information, or services, both onsite and offsite; policies to prevent sexual harassment and violence and expand health benefits for women and their families; and operational changes to promote a healthy working environment. Additionally, companies might engage in public-facing actions, such as supporting health promotion campaigns and joining women’s health-related coalitions.

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