Hologic launched the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index — a multiyear, comprehensive global survey about women’s health — to help fill a critical gap in what the world knows about the health and wellbeing of the world’s women and girls. Conducted annually, the survey provides the most timely, globally comprehensive data from womens' perspectives on their health and wellbeing.
The results from the 2021 Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, conducted with nearly 127,000 women and men in 122 countries and territories, show that leaders need this framework more than ever. Health situations for women and girls worldwide did not get better in 2021. The divide between women in high-income and low-income economies grew even larger than the year before.
The findings in this year’s report provide a crucial update on the state of women’s health worldwide in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, as women around the world lived through an uneven economic recovery and a “hurricane of humanitarian crises.” This year’s report answers key questions about women’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding healthcare and, most importantly, whether women are getting preventive care and using health services.
The gap in Index scores between women in high-income and low-income economies nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021.
In 2021, 22 points separated women in high-income economies — whose score remained unchanged at 61 — and women in low-income economies, whose score dropped from 49 to 39.
Women’s ability to meet their basic needs — such as affording food — fell, while men’s ability to do so did not change.
Women were slightly more likely than men to say there were times in the past year when they did not have enough money to afford needed food (37% of women vs. 33% of men). This gap was wider in 2021 than it was in 2020 — as women lost ground while men largely remained steady.
Women in 2021 were more stressed, worried, angry and sad than they were in 2020 — or at any point in the past decade.
Stress, worry and anger each increased by three percentage points within the span of a year, while sadness notably rose by six points. More than 4 in 10 women in 2021 said they experienced worry (43%) and stress (41%) during a lot of the day before the survey, nearly one in three experienced sadness (32%), and more than one in four experienced anger (26%) — all at record levels.
In nearly 50 countries and territories, less than 10% of women said they had been tested for cancer in the previous year.
Worldwide, just 12% of women in 2021 were tested for any type of cancer in the past 12 months, which means more than 2 billion of the world’s women went untested.
Belief in the value of going to a healthcare professional declined among women with an elementary education or less.
While belief in the value of going to a healthcare professional remained relatively stable among women with four years of education beyond high school or a college degree (92%), it dropped seven points among those with an elementary education or less — from 87% to 80% — leading to a 12-point gap between the two groups.
Annual visits to healthcare professionals correspond with two additional years in a woman’s life expectancy.
Even after accounting for gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, life expectancy for women who said they had been to a healthcare professional in the past year was 78, compared to 76 for women who said they hadn’t been.