Article originally published on Huffington Post, August 12, 2013
In 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “The greatest return comes from investing in girls and women. When they are educated they drive development in the families, communities and nations.” Indeed, the Secretary General’s comments are supported by data: An article in The Economist noted that the increase in female employment has been the main driving force of growth in the developed world, greater even than new technology. So, in order to propel the economic growth that will increase the standard of living throughout the world, we must improve access to education for girls and enable women to join the workforce.
There is one common barrier, however, to female education and workforce participation: contraceptive choice. Without access to modern contraception, women have more children then they want or can support — preventing them from rejoining the workforce, and keeping them from spacing their births in a way that is healthy and makes sense for their families. When a family cannot subsist on the parents’ income alone, children are often forced to leave school to support their families.
At WomanCare Global, we are responding to this critical need by changing the nature of philanthropy. We believe that “Conscience Capitalism” ultimately creates a greater and more sustainable impact than pure aid. Rather than relying on donations from philanthropists and governments, we unlock the value of developed markets to respond to the need in the developing world. We use profits we make selling contraceptives in the developed world to subsidize the same products in the developing world. As such, we are able to deliver products of the highest quality standards to women all over the world, regardless of region.
Having this global reach and capability is critical to our mission. In the U.S., women have a full range of temporary, long-acting, hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive options to fit a variety of life-stages and lifestyles. However, in developing countries the closest clinic is often located days away and very likely offers one form of contraception which may be expired or counterfeit. The fact that over 200 million women in the developing world lack access to any form of contraceptives means that something is clearly not working.
At WomanCare Global, we know that in order to truly make a difference — to get things working — we need to deliver against the entire value chain. This means that we need to ensure there is a sustainable contraceptive supply chain, we need to oversee regulatory compliance, product registration, quality assurance, product manufacturing and product distribution. We need to conduct market research to gain market insight, market landscape studies to better understand product utilization and preference. We need to develop real-world demand forecasts and commit to delivering outcomes. We need to promote evidenced-based standards of care and to maintain pharmacovigilance and surveillance on our marketed products.
Our team of experts integrates boots on the ground non-profit experience with global commercial strategy and therapeutic expertise. The result is a powerful combination of passionate professionals wholly aligned and focused on the same goal — empowering women to realize their full potential.
By investing in the developing world, we can provide women the contraceptive choice that will continue to fuel their personal growth and development and allow them to realize their personal goals, desires and aspirations — regardless of where they live.