Leadership

Gender and Economic Parity Start With Reproductive Health, Afaxys CEO Tells Global Symposium

Jun 10, 2021

In 2011, nearly half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the United States were unintended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, the Guttmacher Institute reports that the rates of unintended pregnancies are highest among people with low incomes, women aged 18–24, cohabiting women and women of color.

Without the ability to manage their reproductive life, women may struggle to achieve their economic goals. Attaining higher levels of education and participation in the labor force is more challenging leading to lower earning potential over their lifetimes.

To achieve economic parity, all people need to be able to manage their reproductive health. And that means having access to affordable reproductive health care.

In a recent speech to the Global Symposium on Women’s Leadership, Ronda Dean, President, CEO and Co-founder of Afaxys, spotlighted these challenges and how community and public health providers can help solve them.

Sponsored by the University of Riverside, the Symposium invited female professionals and men who are supportive of women in leadership to share their views on topics around gender equity and fairness in leadership opportunities in the social and economic structures of society—from glass ceilings in the workplace to women’s rights and the law.

For Dean, the belief in giving people the freedom to make their own decision about their reproductive life is a deeply held one. Born out of her personal experience and moral compass, this mission to empower all people to control their own personal lives is the foundation of Afaxys. The company works to provide affordable access to contraceptive care to everyone who needs it, so patients are empowered to reach their full potential.

Afaxys takes a novel approach by focusing on underserved communities

A company like Afaxys is needed now more than ever. Publicly funded family planning services—so critical in helping women avoid unintended pregnancies—must depend on politically vulnerable government funding, grants and donations to keep their doors open.

To address these gaps in care, Afaxys has taken a novel approach for the pharmaceutical industry: focusing on helping low-income populations. “Afaxys’s mission is to serve these patients not because it’s the most profitable thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Dean said.

When Afaxys launched, many people didn’t think it was possible to build a sustainable business with underserved providers and economically challenged patients at the core. “But we proved our critics wrong,” Dean said, noting that Afaxys operates as a sustainable business, not as a charity.

Doing what others thought impossible, Dean said, can hopefully inspire more organizations to support access to affordable reproductive healthcare. Without it, gender parity will be impossible to achieve.